Ngezi Platinum Stars . . (2)3
FC Platinum . . . . . . .(1)1
NGEZI Platinum Stars are this year’s Chibuku Super Cup champions after beating FC Platinum in the competition’s final at Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA IN NGEZI
Man of the Match Liberty Chakoroma scored two long-range goals in each half, opening and closing the scoring in the 10th and 87th minute respectively.
It was his third and fourth goals of the tournament to top the competition’s scoring charts.
Kelvin Bulaji scored the second goal for the winners in the 26th minute, but Gerald Takwara appeared to give his side a lifeline with a thunderous effort of his own in the 40th minute.
But Ngezi Platinum Stars’ captain had the final say as he led by example with a deflected effort to ensure his charges hoisted the floating trophy that comes with $75 000 and a ticket to represent the country in the CAF Confederation Cup competition next season.
Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya was elated for more than one reason.
He lost in the final of the competition last season when he was coach for Dynamos, losing to Harare City.
“This is what we wanted from the beginning, to play in Africa. I’m happy for the boys, the management and the community. This trophy is for the supporters and hope they will enjoy the African — Safari. I hope the bosses will allow us to participate in Africa,” Ndiraya said.
He added, “We deserved it, we played well and never gave them much room and restricted them from shooting from distance. We are a team that is coming from the lower league. We never thought we could get this far, but we had a dream. We won by a two-goal margin, which I think is quite extraordinary for a team of our magnitude.”
His opposite Norman Mapeza was distraught, but admitted his side was outwitted by a hungrier Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Mapeza’s side had the lion’s share of possession earlier on, but appeared to run out of ideas against a very compact side who had five at the back, including the returning Patson Jaure who had recovered from an injury.
It was Ngezi who had the first sniff at goal when the troublesome Donald Teguru found some space on the right wing on seventh minute, dropped a shoulder to beat Gift Bello, but his shot was weak to trouble Petros Mhari.
But when he returned into the FC Platinum box three minutes later, there was little the visiting back four could do to stop the opening goal.
The nimble-footed Teguru weaved his way, but was dispossessed as he was about to pull the trigger. The ball fell invitingly for Chakoroma who blasted home.
Ngezi doubled their advantage just before the hour mark from yet another rebound after FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari failed to gather a Walter Mukanga shot from outside the box.
Bulaji finished off the effort in style, dinking the ball over the sprawling Mhari.
The goal looked to have put the game beyond their Platinum rivals
However, Takwara gave his side some hope with a thunderous shot from outside the box, showing both precision and incredible power.
Mapeza’s side were sensing blood after the goal and were all over their opponents in the closing stages of the first-half, with Walter Musona and Marshall Mudehwe missing good opportunities that came their way as they went to the break trailing.
They continued to probe for an equaliser at the start of the second-half and Ngezi keeper Nelson Chadya kept his side into the match with a smart save to deny Mudehwe’s angled shot
But any hopes of a comeback were extinguished when the imposing midfielder Chakoroma produced yet another screamer, this time his effort taking a huge deflection to fly past a stranded Mhari.
Teguru could have put gloss on the scoreline in injury time when he broke on the counter, but ran out of steam in a foot race with a defender and was dispossessed.
Match day referee Ruzive Ruzive then blew the whistle to spark celebrations at the stadium, with the Ngezi Platinum players huddling with the coaches in a clear show of unity.
It was a fairytale ending to the league debutants who at one time looked in danger of being relegated in the league before they hired Ndiraya, who managed to steady the ship. Africa is the next most important item on Ngezi Platinum’s diary.
Ngezi Platinum: N Chadya, P Jaure, N Ketala, T Chamboko, L Chakoroma, K Bulaji (J Ngulube, 62′), T Dzvukamanja (W Pakamisa, 83′), W Mukanga, E Tapera, D Teguru
FC Platinum: P Mhari, I Nekati, G Bello, K Moyo, E Moyo, G Takwara, N Masuku (W Kamudyariwa, 88′), R Chinyengetere, M Mudehwe, B Muzondiwa (M Kawashu, 63′), W Musona