By Tobias Mandoreba
Hwange FC displayed one of their worst performances in recent memory in front of their home crowd and were lucky to share the spoils with a determined 10-man TelOne at the Colliery Stadium yesterday.
TelOne played a whole hour with a numerical disadvantage after defender Innocent Zambezi was shown a red card by referee Maka Magare on the half hour mark for elbowing Ernest Gwitima inside the box, but the coal embers never glowed in the contest.
Gwitima dusted himself and sent TelOne goalkeeper Raphel Pitisi the wrong way from the penalty spot to leave the drum beating home fans with glee as they anticipated a goals feast.
But football has its own surprises, twists and turns, as the home fans were left edgy by TelOne, who made a mockery of that setback with a purposeful and disciplined show that could even have left Hwange with an egg on their face.
TelOne were deservedly rewarded for their determination in the 70th minute when David Mangesi was allowed to hammer home from close range after the home defence slept on duty instead of dealing with what looked like a harmless free-kick by goalkeeper Pitisi.
After the equaliser, TelOne played with their tails up and threatened to cause an upset.
The referee’s final whistle was welcomed by a section of the home fans that couldn’t stomach the nightmare unfolding in front of their eyes.
Hwange head coach Nation Dube lamented his players’ attitude.
“The way we played overall after going ahead was worrying as we became complacent, especially in defending,” he said.
While Dube was in pains, TelOne technical team manager Joel Luphahla heaped praise on his charges.
“The red card incident hardened our resolve and it is gratifying to get a valuable point against Hwange, who have been playing well of late,” said Luphahla.
Hwange: T Mvula; L Sibanda; A Chuma; G Ndlovu; N Chinyerere; T Ncube (E Nkhulungo 55th min); F Chindungwe; S Gadzikwa (A Ndlovu 57th min); E Gwitima; G Zulu (D Maphosa 57th min); N Gama.
TelOne: R Pitisi; I Zambezi; M Chigumira (J Muzokomba 64th min); T Chikore; E Zinyama; J Jam; D Mangesi; D Temwanjira; B Sibanda (T Sibanda 55th min) ; E Mandiranga (F Bushiri 75th min) ; S Phiri. The Chronicle