By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Prince Dube chose national colours to finally break his non-scoring record at Barbourfields Stadium this year when he scored a hat-trick as the Warriors beat Mauritius in an African Nations Championship (Chan) first round second-leg qualifier yesterday.
Dube scored in the 16th, 67th and 83rd minutes to join an elite list of Warriors’ players that have scored three goals in a single match.
That list has the legendary Shackman Tauro, who was the first to score a hat-trick for Zimbabwe in 1982 against Zanzibar. Ex-Dynamos dribbler Vitalis Takawira followed suit against Cameroon in 1995 and two years later it was Gilbert Mushangazhike against Vietnam.
Agent Sawu made his mark against Eritrea in 1999 before the great man himself Peter Ndlovu grabbed one against Swaziland in 2004. The Warriors had to wait for 13 long years before another player celebrated a hat-trick in the name of Knowledge Musona against Liberia. And yesterday, Dube joined that list.
However, the visitors drew first blood through Jean Aristide in the fourth minute when he capitalised on captain Partson Jaure’s mistake in a dangerous position.
Aristide’s booming and rising shot gave goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda no chance. It, however, turned out to be the only chance that Mauritius created throughout the match as Sibanda was literally a spectator.
Zimbabwe restored parity 16 minutes into the match through Dube, whose hard and low shot beat a diving Louis Christopher in goal for Mauritius.
It was two for the Warriors in the 67th minute when Dube headed home. He capped his hat-trick with a goal of individual brilliance in the 83rd minute when he found himself in possession in the centre circle, rode two tackles and on getting to the edge of the box, let loose a shot that was written goal all over it.
“We had a dull first half and I think it was largely to do with complacency on the part of my players, but we are happy to progress,” said coach Rahman Gumbo.
Zimbabwe will now meet Lesotho in the second and final round of the qualifiers whose finals will be in Cameron early next year.
Lesotho beat South Africa 3-0 yesterday to progress 6-2 on aggregate.
Zimbabwe hat-trick scorers
Shacky Tauro (Nov 26, 1982 vs Zanzibar)
Vitalis Takawira (Jan 22, 1995 vs Cameroon)
Gilbert Mushangazike (Feb 26, 1997 vs Vietnam)
Agent Sawu (Aug 15, 1999 vs Eritrea)
Peter Ndlovu (Jun 27, 2004 vs Swaziland)
Knowledge Musona (Jun 11, 2017 vs Liberia)
Prince Dube (August 4, 2019 vs Mauritius)
Zimbabwe: Ariel Sibanda, Ian Nekati, Kelvin Madzongwe (Ralph Kawondera 76th min), Leeroy Mavhunga, Peter Muduhwa, Xolani Ndlovu, Never Tigere (Clive Augusto 49th min), Nqobizitha Masuku, Partson Jaure, Phineas Bamusi (Evans Katana 68th min), Prince Dube,
Subs: Obriel Chirinda, Richard Hachiro, Talbert Shumba
Mauritius: Emmanuel Foolchand (Yoan Dupre 67th min) , James Sophie, Jean Francos, Jean Gentil, Jean Roussety, Jean Aristide, John Chiu (Jean Aristide 55th min) Laurent Rouge, Louis Christopher, Louis Philbert, Ludovic Milazar,
Subs: Robinson Moutoula, Rohan Ramdany, Jean Leon, Jean Michel, Jean Francois