By Eddie Chikamhi
There was total chaos on the pitch at Rufaro yesterday as angry Black Rhinos players and officials threatened to manhandle referee Josiah Masimira for allowing a heavily disputed goal by relegation-haunted giants Dynamos to stand in a tense finish to this Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clash.
DeMbare’s stand-in skipper Marshal Machazane masterminded his side’s great escape yesterday with the very last piece of action after Tapiwa Sibanda had cancelled out Valentine Kadonzvo’s 24th minute goal.
However, referee Masimira and his nearside assistant Bongani Gadzikwa, had to be escorted out of the arena by police as marauding Rhinos players besieged the match officials in protest.
But for DeMbare, who were under heavy pressure to win following victories by most of the teams involved in the relegation mix at the weekend, the victory meant much, no matter the drama.
Dynamos’ Mbare-born interim coach Lloyd Chigowe welcomed the result which kept them afloat with four games remaining in the season.
The 54-year-old coach told reporters after the match that he felt the drama which enveloped the final minutes at Rufaro were probably a result of “a bitter taste in the mouth” as Rhinos could not swallow the fact that they conceded in the last minute of the game.
“From where I was seated I thought he (Machazane) bundled the ball over the line. Probably Rhinos saw it differently, I cannot comment on that. I think that is for the referees to decide,” said Chigowe.
Dynamos remained unchanged on 11th place on the log standings with 37 points but they have made giant strides away from the relegation cut-off point, which is now five points down.
Chigowe feels his charges are on the right path in his quest to help the team survive the dreaded chop.
The DeMbare interim coach thinks the win over traditional rivals Caps United in the rescheduled Harare Derby in their last match has given his boys the confidence they need going into the last decisive phase of the season.
“I think it reflects the character of the team at such a moment as this. The boys are willing to fight till the death. They could have been satisfied with a point but at the death we threw all our men forward into the box and we got the winner.
“That is a sign of character indeed especially at this time when we are in murky waters of relegation,” said Chigowe.
Kadonzvo yesterday put the Glamour Boys in the driving seat with a low shot that beat goalkeeper Ashley Reyners after his teammate Kuda Kumwala had messed up a great chance inside the box.
But with DeMbare heavily depleted and playing with a makeshift defence, Rhinos still looked threatening with diminutive winger Edgar Chigiji causing problems and enjoying good company from veterans Masimba Mambare and Allen Gahadzikwa.
Their skipper of the day Wonder Kapinda and Donald Mudadi also bossed the midfield but the army side could not get clear-cut chances upfront.
Instead it was DeMbare who came closer to scoring in the 57th minute when Kingston Nkhata found an opening and unleashed a powerful grounder which Reyners did well to keep out, thanks to a fine reflex.
Rhinos still managed to find the equaliser when Tapiwa Sibanda sent his free-kick over the wall and found the top corner with DeMbare goalkeeper Simba Chinani at sea.
But there was to be drama in the last minute when substitute Emmanuel Mandiranga swung in a brilliant delivery from the corner kick which was met by Machazane after Dynamos had committed almost all of their men into the box in a desperate search for the winner.
From a distance, it appeared Machazane used both hands to guide the ball in but the referee, had a better view and he pointed to the centre circle amid violent remonstrations by the Rhinos players who had to be persuaded by their coach Herbert Maruwa, a former Dynamos assistant coach, to go back into the pitch to finish the match.
Maruwa also restrained the players who had wanted to accost the referee in the melee soon after blowing the final whistle.
Maruwa also felt they were robbed of a point and hinted the club could lodge a complaint with the authorities.
“It was a good game from the boys but someone just ended up deciding the game. I cannot comment on that but I am very sad.
“Sometimes there are things you cannot control but it’s very sad. I don’t normally complain about the referees but this guy (Machazane) used two hands to score the goal but it was just ignored, maybe because they are a big club,” said Maruwa.
Dynamos: S. Chinani,T. Muringani, P. Makaha (B. Amidu, 46th minute), M. Machazane, M. Mukumba, G. Saunyama, K. Dhemere V. Kadonzvo (E. Mandiranga, 75th minute), B. Moyo, K. Kumwala (T. Macheke, 46th minute), K. Nkhata
Black Rhinos: A. Reyners, A. Mbara, M. Makuwe (S. Jimu, 75th minute), T. Jaravani, D. Mudadi, W. Kapinda, W. Taderera, A. Gahadzikwa (H. Chimutimunzeve, 46th minute), M. Mambare (V. Mhandu, 46th minute), E. Chigiji, T. Sibanda. The Chronicle.