The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
Highlanders …………………… (1) 1
Ngezi Platinum Stars…..……..(0) (0)
PRINCE Dube was the hero once again for Highlanders Football Club on their way to winning this year’s Chibuku Super Cup with a hard-fought triumph over Ngezi Platinum Stars at a crammed Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Dube’s ferocious shot at goal, which saw the ball hit the cross bar, the ground before bouncing back into play was adjudged to have crossed the line by near assistant referee Salani Ncube with the man in the middle Brighton Chimene pointing to the centre spot. The young striker had been involved in the neat build up, the final pass coming from Denzel Khumalo.
It was Dube’s fourth goal in the 2019 Chibuku Super Cup, which meant the 22-year-old was on target in all of Bosso’s matches in this year’s competition. Ngezi Platinum players made a futile effort to challenge the decision to award the goal, which resulted in a few minutes stoppage. In the commotion, Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu, a Highlanders son now with Madamburo as a goalkeepers coach was sent off from the bench. Rodwell Dhlakama, the Ngezi Platinum coach insisted that the ball did not go over the line.
“It was the turning point of the game, the ball did not even cross the line, it hit the bar, came back into play and the referee had to give that goal. Where have you seen a goal given like that in this world?” fumed Dhlakama.
Bosso coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh said based on the response of the players and the fans he was convinced that it was a goal.
“For me it’s simple, I look at the reaction of the fans and from their reaction it’s a goal. The reaction of the players and fans for me is enough,’’ De Jongh said.
The Dutchman, who is yet to taste defeat since taking over as Highlanders coach at the end of September was of the view that it was a tough battle, typical of a cup final.
“Difficult game, first-half, we played very well, scored a goal at the right moment. One zero I was happy, we played a disciplined, beautiful one, second-half was not good, too early, the ball loose,’’ the Dutchman said.
While Dhlakama was fuming about the goal given to Highlanders, De Jongh felt that Ngezi Platinum skipper Frank Makarati should have been sent off for clipping Dube when the striker went for goal. Makarati was the last man in defence and Chimene only showed him a yellow card.
Highlanders were the better team in the opening half in which they showed more attacking intent than their opponents.
While Ngezi played much better in the second-half, it was Highlanders who had the best opportunity when Dube received a brilliant pass from Tinashe Makanda in the 72nd minute. Nelson Chadya produced a superb save to deny Dube on a one on one situation.
Highlanders walked away with a trophy, gold medals and cash prize of $225 000 while Ngezi Platinum’s consolation were silver medals and $150 000. Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Tinoda Machakarika was the guest of honour at the presentation ceremony.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, M Phiri, A Silla, B Banda, N Masuku, A Mbeba, P Muduhwa, M Ndlovu, T Makanda, P Dube, D Khumalo (Makaruse 60 mins)
Ngezi Platinum Stars: N Chadya, K Bulaji, W Makuva, P Moyo, G Takwara, F Makarati, D Teguru, B Mtigo (Nguluve 64 mins), M Mushonga, K Murera, Q Amini (Mushunje 64 mins, 86 mins).