With half the performances they put up in cup matches, relegated Chibuku Cup champions Harare City would have easily avoided the dreaded chop in the league.
BY SPORTS REPORTER
FC Platinum …..(1) 2
Harare City ….. (0) 1
Yesterday at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane, the Sunshine City Boys were unlucky not to take with them two trophies to Division One as they were denied twice by the woodwork in a narrow defeat to champions FC Platinum in the Castle Challenge Cup.
The Castle Challenge Cup, which was organised to commemorate the Premier Soccer League (PSL)’s 25th anniversary pitted the local league’s champions against the Cup winners.
Red-hot forward Rodwell Chinyengetere struck early in the first half while Mkhokeli Dube grabbed the other goal in the second half to help the history-making 2017 league winners from Zvishavane to win yet another trophy.
Substitute Kudakwashe Kumwala scored the consolation goal for Harare City very late in the match to set up a nervy end for the platinum miners who were enjoying home advantage in the match.
It was a sad end to Harare City coach Philani Ncube’s season in which he failed to avoid relegation despite guiding them to success in the country’s biggest knockout tournament, the Chibuku Super Cup.
“In football it happens all the time to be relegated. We are not the first team to be relegated; it will also happen to others after us although we would have loved to remain in the top flight league,” he said.
For emerging the winners, FC Platinum walked away $30 000 richer, while Harare City pocketed $20 000.
Chinyengetere put FC Platinum ahead with a curling shot into the top corner, 10 minutes into the match after he was sent through by Elvis Moyo.
After the goal, it was all Harare City with Martin Vengesai crushing his effort onto the cross bar four minutes later.
Takudzwa Chimwemwe was also denied by the woodwork a few minutes before halftime as the hosts clung on to a slender lead.
Luck continued to desert Harare City in crucial moments as William Manondo missed the target soon after the resumption with FC Platinum goalkeeper Wallace Magalane all at sea.
Veteran striker Dube eased the pressure off the champions slotting home the rebound from an initial Ali Sadiki effort in the 63rd minute.
Kumwala then set up a nail-biting finish to the match, pulling one back for Harare City but they had little time to find another one.
In the end, celebrations continued for the Zvishavane community and FC Platinum who are still on a high following the league success.
“I am happy to win this challenge Cup. We did it for the FC Platinum executive, supporters and the Zvishavane community.
Otherwise it was a good game for us overall,” FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza said after the match.
FC Platinum: W Magalane, I Nekati, G Bello, K Moyo, E Moyo, W Mhango, R Chinyengetere, N, Masuku (G Takwara 36’) , G Mbweti ( H Bakacheza 62’), A Sadiki, M Dube.
Harare City: M Nyamupanedengu, T Samanja, E Madhanhanga, M Vengesai, J Chipangura, P Tshuma, W Ndiweni (K Kumwala 73’), W Manondo, T Chimwemwe, P Kabwe, H Chapusha.