Mukamba rescues Benjani from tasting defeat in debut match as coach
Newly appointed Ngezi Platinum Stars substantive coach Benjani Mwaruwari went home a relieved man yesterday after his newly coached side forced a late 1-1 draw against struggling league outfit Bulawayo Chiefs.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter played at Luveve Stadium on Sunday afternoon marked the beginning of Mwaruwari’s coaching career journey.
The game was Mwaruwari’s debut match in the domestic league as a coach, in fact, his first ever job as a head coach for any topflight club since completing his UEFA A coaching badge in July last year (2021).
But Mwaruwari’s debut match almost started off in a ‘humiliating and unconducive’ manner.
This comes after he nearly recorded a defeat in his first 90 minutes on the touchline as the man in charge of Madamburo (Ngezi).
Nonetheless, the impressive Denver Mukamba was there to save the day for his new boss who was unveiled last week as the departed Rodwell Dhlakama’s replacement.
Mukamba’s 85th minute tap in with his right foot helped the Mhondoro based side to salvage a draw in Bulawayo against the Ninjas who so far have gone for six successive games without tasting a win.
The highly rated lanky midfielder’s goal came after he capitalised from a rebound when Chiefs’ goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya punched the ball into Mukamba’s feet before he directed his shot into an empty net.
Mawaya had tried his best to deal with a close range corker shot from Ngezi’s second half substitute and debutant Tinotenda Murasiranwa though he fumbled the ball into Mundikumbuke’s (Mukamba) path and the talented midfielder easily scored to level matters with five minutes left.
Speaking to the media after the match, the new Ngezi gaffer and former Manchester City striker said he was happy after collecting a point on his debut match played away from home.
“As my first game playing away from home is always difficult but considering that we were one nil down taking a point was very good,” said Mwaruwari.
But despite the draw, the former Chippa United player also revealed that his aim was to collect maximum points on his debutant match.
“My aim was to win my first match but unfortunately I didn’t win and my focus is now on the next match,” he added.
“The first half helped us to see where we were getting it wrong because we were disjointed so I explained to the boys to keep the ball enough.”
Mwaruwari’s charges trailed 33 minutes into the game when the veteran defender Qadr Amini tripped Chiefs’ striker Obriel Chirinda inside the box.
The foul saw the referee pointing to the spot to award the home side the penalty with the backing from his assistant who was also seen waving his flag up charging a foul against Amini.
And, with his left foot, Chirinda who had caused the penalty steadily took the spot kick and sent Ngezi’s goalkeeper Nelson Chadya the wrong way to put his side in front.
Nevertheless, his effort was then later cancelled by Mukamba’s goal in the dying minutes of the match.
Meanwhile, commenting on the match the Chiefs head coach Nilson Terroso said: “I think in the first half we were very good, we were in control of the match in terms of possession, combination and pushing the ball forward.
“But when we were forced to make some changes in the second half with Felix and Obriel coming off that is when the team broke down a little bit.
“That is when they pressed us going forward, putting us under pressure, they found a shot after a long ball then the rebound resulted in their equaliser.” Nehanda Radio
Bulawayo Chiefs:Takabva Mawaya, Elvis Moyo, Kelvin Madzongwe, Lucky Ndlela, Arthur Musiyiwa, Obriel Chirinda (Dela Arkoli 68th min) Malvern Mkolo, Kevin Moyo, Perfect Chikwende, Felix Moyo (Mthokozisi Msebe 59th min), Farawu Matare (Ben Nyaunzvi 59th min)
Unused Subs: David Bizabani, Ian Nekati, , Hughes Chikosa, , Panashe Shoko, , Mandlenkosi Gasela, Bill Veremu
Ngezi Platinum: Nelson Chadya, Ariel Makopa, Kudzai Chigwida, Denver Mukamba, Marvelous Mukumba, Polite Moyo, Bruno Mtigo, Delic Murimba, Qadr Amini, Wellington Taderera (Tinotenda Murasiranwa 76th min), Valentine Kadonzo
Unused Subs: Anelka Chivandire, Carlos Mavhurume, Tapiwa Sibanda, Mandlenkosi Mlilo, Leslie Kashitigu, Benhura Takunda, , Marlvin Kwinjo, Mariyoni Chang.