By Eddie Chikamhi
Now, that’s a Super Saturday
CAPS United will have to do it the toughest way possible – beating the champions on Super Sunday at the National Sports Stadium – for the Green Machine to be champions.
This follows a dramatic penultimate round of Castle Lager Premiership fixtures yesterday.
The Harare giants came here with a chance of being crowned champions, had they won and FC Platinum dropped points at Mandava against Black Rhinos.
But, after a demoralising loss, and the Zvishavane side’s win, CAPS United saw their advantage vanish into thin air.
Now, FC Platinum can be champions, for the third straight season, if they hold on to a draw on Super Saturday.
Of course, CAPS United can also win the championship with a home win irrespective of what happens elsewhere.
Never before, in the history of the domestic Premiership since Independence, have two teams – fighting for the championship – gone head-to-head in the final game of the season.
This was a big blow for the Green Machine but, crucially for their army of fans, it wasn’t a mortal one.
And, they will get another chance to get it right on Saturday and, if they can’t win at home to be champions, then they don’t deserve to win the big prize.
Ngezi Platinum winger Qadr Amini was the architect of Makepekepe’s destruction with a brace scored either side of the interval.
That it took a former Dynamos player, to poke holes into the championship aspirations of the Green Machine, must have pleased the Glamour Boys camp in a season that hasn’t gone according to plan.
Marlon Mushonga then had the hosts 3-0 up by the 75th minute.
But CAPS United allied back late on with goals from Newman Sianchali and Dominic Chungwa in the last three minutes.
“I think we did not manage the pressure very well. If you look at the way we played, the way we presented ourselves, especially in the first half, we lost the ball unnecessarily,’’ said coach Darlington Dodo.
“We were giving the opponents a lot of space to play and it was difficult to contain them because they have good players. It was a challenge in terms of tracking them down.
“That was our greatest weakness, especially in the first half, but we sorted that in the second half. However, we conceded goals that we were not supposed to.’’
CAPS United, who have never won at Baobab in the league, remained on 58 points while FC Platinum rose to 59 points.
Dodo will have to sort out his injury-ravaged defence in the next few days, if they are to beat the champions, and seal their sixth league title.
Amini silenced the merry-making travelling band of Makepekepe supporters with a 16th minute strike, finding himself at the right place at the right time to convert a pass from James Nguluve who had made a fine run down the left channel.
Ngezi could have doubled their lead six minutes later when defender Valentine Musarurwa mistimed a high ball but Nguluve, whose sporadic bursts of pace and energy were a problem for the CAPS defence, dragged his shot wide.
Striker John Zhuwawu then headed the ball into Newman Sianchali’s path, just after the break, but the forward blew his effort over the bar from close range.
The CAPS technical bench should take the flak for the second goal.
They paid dearly for delaying to make a decision, following Lincoln Zvasiya’s injury, and the team played one man short, for over three minutes, which the hosts exploited.
Donald Teguru’s low cross was missed by Musarurwa and Amini had the easy task of placing the ball home in the 52nd minute.
Mushonga then fire a goal-bound shot that took a heavy deflection from Dominic Mukandi for Ngezi’s third goal of the afternoon with 15 minutes remaining.
But there was still time for Makepekepe to score twice with substitute Chungwa’s rising shot beating goalkeeper Nelson Chadya and then Sianchali also scoring.
Incredibly, there was a chance for CAPS to force a share of the points but Chadya punched out Chungwa’s shot, which had taken a deflection off a defender.
“We just needed this victory and, like what I alluded to before, we are not Father Christmas,’’ said Ngezi coach, Rodwell Dhlakama.
‘‘We just needed to play our game and make sure we finish the season on a respectable position. We did just that today.
‘‘Complacency started creeping in after we had taken a 3-0 lead. It was a nerve-wrecking finish but what was important is that we collected maximum points.’’
Ngezi Platinum: N. Chadya, K. Bulaji, W. Makuva, F. Makarati, P. Moyo, G. Takwara, Q. Amini (O. Miniru, 66th minute) , M. Mushonga, M. Kwinjo (K. Murera, 50th min), D. Teguru (M. Mlilo, 75th min), J. Nguluve.
CAPS Utd: T. Mateyaunga, V. Musarurwa (B. Sarupinda, 69th min), V. Ndaba, L. Zvasiya (G. Goriyati, 53rd min), S. Masunda, D. Mukandi, R. Chitiyo, J. Ngodzo, P. Bamusi (D. Chungwa, 67th min) J. Zhuwawu, N. Sianchali. The Herald