By Tadious Manyepo
Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva blamed complacency for his charges’ pedestrian showing in this Castle Lager Premiership football defeat to new boys Manica Diamonds at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Stanley Ngala scored in the first half to condemn the hosts to their second defeat of the season.
Yet, after an impressive run in their last three matches against bigger opponents, Herentals were expected to brush aside their guests, who themselves were coming from a two-match losing streak.
But a shocking failure to apply the basic goalkeeping aspects by shot-stopper Simbarashe Gondo allowed Ngala to head home a Lawrence Masibera cross from the right flank where Peter Chota was napping.
The debutants took their points tally to 7 in six matches while Herentals remain with seven points from as many encounters.
And Mutiwekuziva was left fuming though he remains confident his charges will still do well going forward.
“It was a very bad performance from the team especially in the first half. A poor show against a Manica Diamonds, a team which I will describe as a small team.
“Coming from some solid displays in our last three matches, I expected the boys to come to the party and beat the visitors but that wasn’t to be.
“We failed to express ourselves the way we should as we committed a lot of mistakes, one of which resulted in the goal which we conceded.
“I think the boys were complacent given that Herentals’ profile is much more bigger than Manica Diamonds’ and also considering where they were coming from compared to what we did in the past three matches,” said Mutiwekuziva.
Manica Diamonds coach Luke Masomere hailed his men for their resolve especially in the second half when Herentals were attacking in numbers.
“I am really happy for the three points which we picked up after playing a good brand of football.
“We have had a very difficult showing before this match. We needed to make amends and we managed to do just that.
“The morale was a bit down but with this win, we will be hoping to post impressive results going forward,” said Masomere.
The visitors looked threatening from the first whistle but failed to create any meaningful scoring chances until the 25th minute when Last Jesi somehow fluffed his lines from close range after a startled Herentals defence failed to deal with a delicate pass from the right channel.
Four minutes later, Ngala amended for Jesi’s glaring miss when he planted his header into an empty net with Gondo having needlessly come off to block Masibera’s lofted cross.
The hosts came off their shell in the second half especially after the introduction of Blessing Majarira for the off-form Prince Chama.
They almost grabbed the equaliser at the hour mark but Carlos Mavhurume’s effort was cleared off the line by Carlton Munzabwa. Innocent and Tino Benza both came close to scoring in the second stanza but the Manica Diamonds defence stood resolute. The Herald