By Ricky Zililo
Bulawayo Chiefs 2-2 Caps United
Pathetic refereeing by Allan Bhasvi almost spoiled an exciting Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between newboys Bulawayo Chiefs and former champions Caps United at Luveve Stadium.The match kickoff was delayed by 35 minutes following a clash of colours.
Caps United had to play the match with their warm-up T-shirts, players’ numbers were written with a Mighty Marker. It was embarrassing that the Green Machine brought only one kit, which infuriated even coach, Lloyd Chitembwe.
Bhasvi was to have a terrible day in office, especially in the second half when he made lots of unfair decisions against the home team.
The referee’s glaring mistakes even irked the fans who ended up hurling insults at him. He appeared to be overwhelmed by the match as he let Caps United players off the hook without booking them for rough play on many occasions.
The referee did not even notice that Chiefs defensive midfielder Gracious Muleya used his hand to score his team’s second goal in the 32nd minute, when he bungled in a Moses Majika cross from a corner kick.
Caps United survived a Chiefs scare as they had to come from behind twice in the game.
Chiefs captain Kundishora Chakanyuka gave his team an eighth minute lead, heading in a perfect delivery from Farau Matare who atoned for an earlier miss when he failed to beat Caps United goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba.John Zhuwawu got the equaliser for Caps United three minutes later poking in the ball in a goalmouth melee.
Chiefs left back Shadreck Nyahwa should take the flak for that goal, as his decision to shield the ball from his marker Brian Muzondiwa in the box instead of clearing to safety went horribly wrong as he was dispossessed and Caps went on to score.
Chiefs’ playmaker Perfect Chikwende had his 31st minute attempt parried for corner by Chigumba. Chiefs then scored from the resultant corner through Muleya who got away with “the hand of God” goal.
Caps United players protests fell on deaf ears.
Joel Ngodzo had his long-range volley hitting the upright in the 24th minute with Chiefs keeper Kelvin Nyoni clearly beaten.
Chigumba made a stunning 40th minute save as he went airborne to punch away a Chakanyuka goal bound effort.
Chiefs went on to finish the first half strongly with Takunda Muzuva hitting the upright in the 45th minute.
Caps United returned from the break a more determined side, as they took control of the midfield with Ngodzo and Peter Moyo running the show as they forced their opponents to the back.
Chiefs then conceded a penalty in the 62nd minute when Muleya was adjudged to have fouled Simbarashe Nhivi in the box. Ngodzo sent Nyoni the wrong way from the spot kick.
Caps United had to play the last 15 minutes of the match with 10 players after Justice Jangano was expelled after being shown a second yellow card for a lunge on Chikwende.
Commenting on the match, Chiefs’ coach, Garthly Chipuka said: “Our strategy was to sit back and hit them on counter but that failed and we ended up conceding a soft goal as well as a penalty. To us it’s two points lost rather than a point gained.”
Caps United coach Chitembwe felt the delay because of a clash of colours had an effect on his players who struggled in the opening stages of the game.
“It was a good game of football and I’m happy with the progress we are making. First half they (Chiefs) were more aggressive but we were in control of the game in the second half.
“The clash of kits affected the players as they took long to settle. We were at fault because we were supposed to change the kit as an away team. I’m going to talk to my bosses about this because administratively we were caught unawares,” Chitembwe said.
Bulawayo Chiefs: Kelvin Nyoni, Malvin Mkolo, Shadreck Nyahwa (Talent Mandizadza, 78th minute), Polite Moyo, Last Sithole, Takunda Muzuva, Gracious Muleya, Perfect Chikwende, Farau Matare (Arthur Musiiwa, 66th minute), Kundishora Chakanyuka (Dylan Chivandire, 89th minute), Moses Majika
Caps United: Prosper Chigumba, Kudzai Nyamupfukudza (Carlton Munzabwa, 42nd minute), Valentine Musarurwa, Justice Jangano, Stephen Makatuka, Cabby Kamhapa, Milton Ncube (Peter Moyo, 43rd minute), Simbarashe Nhivi (Denver Mukamba, 72nd minute), Joel Ngodzo, John Zhuwawu, Brian Muzondiwa