By Fungai Muderere
From Warriors 2019 Afcon wreckage, Marvelous Nakamba’s historic Aston Villa move, Sables’ Victoria Cup triumph, FC Platinum’s heroics to Herentals’ alleged match fixing scandal(s) here are the top highlights of Zimbabwe sports.
Warriors in greatest disappoint
The hype was huge before Zimbabwe’s fourth appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations and at the end, the greatest disappointment was Warriors crushing the dreams of the nation.
It was a tournament in which Zimbabwe’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign went up in smoke in embarrassing fashion, with the team failing to win any match.
After starting out with a narrow defeat against hosts and tournament’s favourites Egypt, Sunday Chidzambwa’s men appeared to have a great chance of reaching the knockout stages when they drew with Uganda in the second game.
However, that was not to be as third-choice goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze was outrageously terrible in the 4-0 annihilation by DRC.
Interestingly, Zimbabwe had overcome DR Congo twice in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Poster boy Khama Billiat was the only player among the pack who played well as the bulk of Chidzambwa’s charges were either below par or showed only little touches of brilliance.
The boys, Musona and Chipezeze in particular, were subjected to heavy criticism — as the football loving nation of Zimbabwe reviewed the Warriors’ performance.
Marvelous Nakamba EPL move, Teenage dazzles in Turkey
Never mind that he was part of the Warriors squad that connived to disappoint at the 2019 Afcon finals, few weeks after the African soccer jamboree, Marvelous Nakamba was confirmed as an Aston Villa player.
The 25-year-old Warriors’ midfielder penned a deal reportedly worth £11 million from Belgian side Club Brugge to become the fourth Zimbabwean to play in the English Premiership after Bruce Grobbelaar, Peter Ndlovu and Benjani Mwaruwari.
He has featured in the English Premier League in Villa colours for couple of times, showcasing some man-of-the-match performances, a development that has seen the former Bantu Rovers player continue to pen his MARVELOUS football story.
Not to be outdone in the year 2019, was towering Warriors defender Teenage Hadebe, who is making waves in the Turkish Super Liga, where he is now one of the main players at Yeni Malatyaspor.
He joined the Turkish side from Kaizer Chiefs in July 2019 and, he has been catching the eye with a string of powerful performances that have seen him being named among the best performers of the week thrice.
In May 2019, Zimbabwe’s Lady Chevrons were crowned champions of the International Cricket Council Women’s Qualifier Africa following a 50-run win over Namibia in the final at Harare Sports Club.
With the win, the Lady Chevrons booked a ticket to the ICC Women’s Qualifier that was held in Scotland from August 31 to September 7.
However, the Mary-Anne Musonda-captained side failed to take part after the International Cricket Council suspended Zimbabwe.
Sables Victoria Cup glory
Five months later, the rugby side wrote their piece of sporting history when the Sables were crowned winners of the Victoria Cup, a four-nation rugby contest following their impressive 41-5 triumph over Zambia at Lusaka Showgrounds in Lusaka.
The Sables ran in seven tries, with their defence only breached once by the Zambians and won five matches out of six in the Victoria Cup, a competition they last won in 2011 when it featured three countries.
Their only defeat was against Kenya away.
FC Platinum join big boys club, as Bosso ends trophy drought
FC Platinum sealed their third successive Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title after beating CAPS United 1-0 in a thrilling title decider at the National Sports Stadium.
From the time they got into the PSL, FC Platinum have always aimed higher. In their very first season in the PSL in 2011, FC Platinum gunned for the championship, with the race against Dynamos going all the way to the last day of the season. Dynamos won the title on goal difference that season, a massive achievement for FC Platinum seeing that it was just their first season at the top.
FC Platinum refused to let the disappointment of their maiden season deter them from gunning for the most sought-after prize in domestic football.
From being near-men over the years, FC Platinum are now the team to beat, they have gone on to win the championship three times in a row. Pure Platinum Play, as they are now called, have achieved something that only the likes of Highlanders and Dynamos have done over the years, that is to keep the PSL championship trophy permanently in their cabinet after winning it for three years uninterrupted.
On the other end, that wonder strike by Prince Dube at a crammed Barbourfields Stadium helped Highlanders successfully wrestle for the Chibuku Super Cup.
It was a goal made in Heaven and it ended Bosso’s five-year cup drought.
The Naughty PSL Students
Herentals have been forced to put their celebrations for surviving relegation on hold after another match-fixing charge was laid on them recently.
The Students are being accused of manipulating the game against Bulawayo Chiefs which saved them from relegation on the last day of the campaign. They have another similar case which is still pending after allegedly “buying” the 3-0 win against Black Rhinos in October.
Chiefs are claiming that an official from the Harare-based club first made overtures to “bribe” Coach Thulani Sibanda before turning to the players after the gaffer dismissed their approaches. The Students reportedly offered the Chiefs camp US$3 500 before a game which ended 1-0 in favour of the former. B-Metro