Chipo Sabeta and Eddie Chikamhi in Maseru, Lesotho
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CAPS United midfielders Joel Ngodzo and Kudzai Nyamupfukudza’s dreams to participate in the Confederation of African Football Champions League were shattered yesterday when they were disqualified for wrong documents.
This publication is reliably informed that the duo’s dates of birth on their passports could not tally with the licences released by Caf. It was for that reason match commissioner Somnath Ballgobin from Mauritius could not allow the two to participate in the match against Lioli FC at Setsoto Stadium in Maseru, Lesotho. The match ended with a goalless draw and the return leg will be played next weekend at the National Sports Stadium.
There was drama when Ballgobin swiftly pulled out Ngodzo and Nyamupfukudza out from their warm up session after finding out the mismatch on their documents.
“Here is our list to Caf and everything on Josta’s document is correct. We submitted the correct dates. But Caf made a mistake. He can’t play today but it’s something we will follow up and they will make corrections,’’ said Caps United chief executive officer Cuthbert Chitima.
On Nyamupfukudza’s case Chitima said. “It was a wrong date from our office. We are to blame, it was wrong from the onset. It’s our fault on that one and it’s unfortunate. We will make a follow up on the licenses. We hope the issues will be addressed.’’
Ngodzo was part of coach Lloyd Chitembwe’s starting line-up while Nyamupfukudza was on the bench. The former Highlanders player was replaced by Cabby Kamhapa. Chitembwe could not hide his disappointment.
“It’s one of those things. It happens. It’s very unfortunate when you have plans for someone and things turn out that way. It changed the whole situation. However, I am glad that his replacement didn’t disappoint. Cabby played according to instructions and we managed to achieve our goal,” Chitembwe said.
However, Chitembwe believes the Green Machine have begun their Confederation of Africa Football Champions League campaign on the right footing. Makepekepe, who were playing in their first competitive game of the season, managed to avoid defeat in Lesotho and are now hoping to finish off their opponents in the return leg at the National Sports Stadium next week.
The Harare giants showed signs of rust on occasions but crucially they did not surrender the entire game. In fact they stood toe to toe with their hosts, who had hoped to capitalise on match fitness as their season is midway through.
Chitembwe was still impressed as Makepekepe relish a date with former champions TP Mazembe in the first round should they beat Lioli in the second leg.
“I think the boys played well because that’s exactly what we had planned. We wanted to cancel out this game by avoiding defeat and then we meet them in Harare for the decider. So I am pleased with the result. Now we have to focus on the return game.
“I always say this, there is no perfect team in the world. It’s through these games that we get perfection as a football team. If we can play two or three more games, then we can only get better,’’ said Chitembwe.
After 15 minutes Chitembwe called Ronald Chitiyo to the touchline and said something to the newboy who responded swiftly by going into a more central position where he started dictating the pace.
In fact, Chitiyo got involved in a quick interchange of passes straight from there with striker Dominic Chungwa who forced a good save from the keeper Liteboho Mokhehle from an angled position.
But as the game switched to the other end, Caps United left back Ronald Pfumbidzai made a timely slide to block Tumelo Moutlang after Dennis Dauda had made a defensive error.
Makepekepe’s defensive blunders were probably becoming intolerable with Dennis Dauda and Justice Jangano the main culprits. The Green Machine nearly got punished just before the breather but goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda made a point blank save in 43rd minute to deny Tumelo Khutlang who had benefited from another gaffe by Jangano in central defence.
But the visitors still stood firm and with a bit of lucky could have pulled a win. They had penalty appeals turned down by Namibian referee Jackson Pavaza just before the halftime break when Lioli defender Kopano Tseka appeared to have blocked Abbas Amidu’s goal bound shot with his arm. But in that instant, Amidu could have finished it off with a better decision.
Instead of curling the ball unmarked wide inside the box he chose to go for power from an angled position.
The former Kaizer Chiefs nearly redeemed himself just after the half time but his header crashed on the upright.
Lioli: L. Mokhehle, M. Moremoholo, I. Leche, K. Tseka, K. Sello, S. Ramoseka, T. Koetle, M. Mofolo (J. Kamela, 53 mins), B. Moletsane (O. Modirwa, 90 mins), T. Khutlang, T. Lekhooana (J. Maba, 72 mins).
Caps United: E. Sibanda, H. Zvirekwi, R. Pfumbidzai, D. Dauda, J. Jangano, D. Chafa, C. Kamhapa, A Amidu, R. Chitiyo (T. Rusike, 85 mins), P. Bamusi (S. Nhivi, 63 mins), D Chungwa