Soccer Africa

Zimbabwe: Caps United Overwhelm Arenel Movers

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

CAPS Utd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 3

Arenel Movers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1

Veteran forward Lot Chiwunga yesterday grabbed the stage to remind critics that he is still going strong with a brace that powered giants CAPS United to a deserved win over Castle Lager Premiership newboys Arenel Movers at Rufaro yesterday.

The 37-year-old, who arrived at Makepekepe earlier this year amid mixed reactions from football pundits because of his advanced age, was easily the best player on the park yesterday after he was given a starting place ahead of Wayne Makuva.

He had CAPS United ahead as early as the 16th minute before completing his brace with 20 minutes of regulation time remaining.

Arenel Movers thought they had found a lifeline with a 76th minute penalty conversion by Brian Jaravaza but midfielder Ralph Kawondera ensured an emphatic finish for Makepekepe, who responded in a big way to the stunning 0-1 defeat they suffered to another newly promoted team, Bikita Minerals, at the same venue three days earlier.

Green Machine coach Lloyd Chitembwe was excited by the attitude displayed by his charges, with new captain Godknows Murwira also in top form after he was deployed in his new position in central defence.

“I just want to attribute the result to a very good team performance,” side Chitembwe.

“I think the application was very good. We did manage to create very good opportunities. But that has been always the case with us in recent matches although we have been very unfortunate in those moments where we could not take advantage of the opportunities but today.

“I’m extremely delighted with the fact that we managed to convert some of the chances it could have been a much bigger margin. I don’t know how many times hit the post and with a little bit of luck we could have managed to score more than we scored today. Overall, I think it was a very good team performance.”

Perhaps with the bitter memories of last Thursday’s defeat to newboys Bikita Minerals at the same venue, Makepekepe came into the game with clear intentions yesterday.

They made two changes with Devon Chafa and Wayne Makuva making way for Ian Nyoni and Chiwunga. The changes proved key as Nyoni and Phineas Bamusi made good use of their pace on the wings while veteran forward Chiwunga was a constant threat upfront.

Nyoni however, was guilty of missing a free header after presenting an easy catch to goalkeeper Aron Ngwenya from a cross by Bamusi with under five minutes played.

Moments later midfielder Ralph Kawondera found himself at the end of another high ball into the box but could not direct his header down.

Chiwunga then put Makepekepe ahead after 16 minutes with a low header after the ball had twice hit the underside of the crossbar in a melee as CAPS United piled up the pressure, with a bicycle kick from William Manondo also coming off the post before the forward bundled the ball home.

This was the first time the newboys Arenel Movers conceded a goal since they came onto the big stage. Prior to yesterday’s game, the visiting Bulawayo side was unbeaten, and at the same time winless, after playing goalless draws in their opening three matches of the campaign against Herentals, Chicken Inn and champions Ngezi Platinum Stars.

The Green Machine could have doubled their lead at the stroke of half time but Innocent Zambezi’s header was denied by the woodwork from a freekick taken by Eric Manokore on the right.

The game was not without its fair share of controversy as there was a 10-minute delay to the start of the second half. Chaos which flared in the tunnel as Arenel Movers were heading back from their changing room almost spread to the field of play following altercations involving their goalkeepers’ coach Wonder Peperere and CAPS United marshals.

Arenel coach Farai Tawachera threatened to withdraw his players from the pitch in protest before the match officials got the situation under control.

Despite the hiccups, Makepekepe continued with their attacking prowess at the restart and Zambezi’s header at the backpost was cleared from the line from a corner kick by Murwira at the hour mark.

Veteran Chiwunga then completed his brace in the 70th minute after the keeper had punched back into play a point-blank shot by Bamusi. The ball fell into Chiwunga’s path and the former Black Rhinos man drilled home a low shot that nestled on the bottom corner.

CAPS United goalkeeper Ashley Rayners made a spectacular save when he punched out a dangerous free kick from substitute Timothy January midway through the second half.