Former Warriors captain Hardlife Zvirekwi made an emotional return to Premier Soccer League football since he had his left hand amputated following a car crash four months ago with an 87th minute substitute appearance in CAPS United’s nil-all draw against Harare City at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
Harare City 0
CAPS United 0
Zvirekwi missed the first half of the season as he was recovering from the accident that cost him his hand.
There were fears that the accident signalled the end of the former Warriors star’s football career.
But Zvirekwi has defied the odds and is back playing again.
Coach Lloyd Chitembwe introduced Zvirekwi late in the game to replace Simba Nhivi to thunderous applause from the spectators.
Stephen Makatuka immediately ceded the captain’s armband to the rightful owner.
Zvirekwi’s first contribution was a dangerously-swinging free-kick into the box met by Dennis Dauda, but the defender’s header went wide.
It would have been superb to cap his return to action with three points, but it was not to be.
“It’s nice to see the boy back in action. He has gone through some trauma, so it’s great to see him back in the game.
I am pleased for him,” said Harare City coach Mark Harrison.
Harrison said he was pleased with his team’s performance despite failing to win.
“First, we were the better team by far, and in the second half, CAPS United resorted to pumping the ball forward, which is disappointing,” he said.
“Look, it’s another point on the board and we are now on 29. We only need 11 to reach our target and avoid relegation.”
Chitembwe, on the other hand, snubbed the post-match interview.
A match played in viciously cold weather needed to be entertaining and indeed it was with some end-to-end action although both teams appeared rusty in front of goal.
The best chance of the first half only came five minutes before the break.
Hosts’ striker Wilfred Muvirimi robbed Dauda at the back and raced on goal, but he could only find the side netting.
Harare City goalkeeper Ryan Harrison produced an astonishing point-blank save to deny John Zhuwawu from inside the six-yard box early in the second half.
The rebound fell fortuitously onto Brian Muzondiwa and Harrison recovered well to save with his boot.
Apart from that, the match was more of a midfield contest and had a draw written all over it from the beginning.
The introduction of Zvirekwi three minutes from full-time became the main highlight of the match.
Harare City: R Harrison, T Samanja, T Chimwemwe, B Chayambuka, M Diro-Nyenye, R Uchena, M Muchenje, M Gaki ( D Chimwemwe 70’) P Kabwe, T Tumba, W Muvirimi (J Chipangura 80’)
CAPS United: P Chigumba, D Dauda, V Musarurwa, C Munzabwa, S Makatuka, K Nyamupfukudza, J Ngodzo (P Moyo (67’), B Muzondiwa, J Zhuwawu, S Nhivi (H Zvirekwi 87’)