By Tadious Manyepo
Triangle United coach Taurai Mangwiro has hailed the Chiredzi community for a show of maturity after his team cruised to their maiden Chibuku Super Cup victory over holders Harare City at Gibbo on Saturday.
Second half goals by captain Ralph Kawondera and speed merchant Phineas Bamusi helped the Lowveld side claim the knockout tournament, which also comes with a ticket to represent the country in the CAF Confederation Cup next season.
And the community which packed the stadium to capacity was largely expected to scale the not-so-secure perimeter fence and join their heroes in celebrating the milestone achievement on the turf.
But, a mere plea over the public address system for the fans not to interfere with prize-handover proceedings on the pitch was enough for them to remain in the stands.
And Mangwiro was charmed especially considering the capacity of Gibbo to host the high-stakes final had largely been doubted.
Mangwiro, who became the first coach to win the trophy twice having led Harare City to glory in 2015, was ecstatic after the famous victory before a capacity crowd.
The incident-free final was also underlined by top-notch officiating by reigning Referee of the Year Ruzive Ruzive, who has since hinted he will go for another two years before retiring.
He had once considered retirement before the end of the season early this year.
“We are obviously happy about the whole lot after winning the Chibuku Super Cup against a well-drilled team in the mould of Harare City who were the holders.
“The manner in which our fans behaved before, during and after the match was a good advertisement for football. I am sure before the game everyone was doubting the capacity of the stadium to host the big final but at the end of the day, the people here showed a lot of maturity,” said Mangwiro. The veteran gaffer downplayed his record-breaking feat instead paying tribute to the Triangle players, fans and management.
“We played as a unit and that won the game for us. Records are meant for the archives but what is important is the team winning the match.
“Of course, it’s a great feeling, as coaches that’s what you yearn for. You want to win as many accolades as you can but at the end of the day, what matters is the team.”
Mangwiro has since shifted the focus to building a competitive team for the CAF Confederation Cup.
“It’s a good feeling to play in Africa. I have tasted it before during my time at Monomotapa and at Harare City. We have ample time between now and when the competition starts to assemble a formidable team.”
While Mangwiro is basking in glory, his Harare City counterpart, Mark Harrison, is not losing heart after the defeat. Instead, the Englishman has reserved passionate praises for his lads.
“Obviously I am disappointed after losing that Chibuku Super Cup final to Triangle. On the day I think they were probably better than us.
“But, you see, Triangle had a massive advantage playing at their home turf. They had a vociferous fullhouse backing them and you know the trophy was theirs before we even came here,” said Harrison.
“Nevertheless they did well to win the cup, they were full value for the victory. But, for a team which was preparing for life in Division One to have done so well to reach the final is some sort of clue of how great the season has been for us.
“Two weeks before the season kicked off, we were preparing for life in the First Division but we have done well to reach a major cup final and we also did well in the league. Generally, I’m happy for the players, the management as well as the supporters.
“We have lost a cup which we wanted to defend but, that’s football. What I can only say at the moment is we did well. We summoned our best to try and retain the trophy but it was always going to be difficult. And credit to Triangle, they did well and deserved to win.” The Herald