Zimbabwe: Dembare Lift Uhuru Cup

19 April 2021

Dynamos... ... ... . (1) 2

Highlanders... ... ... 0

HARARE giants Dynamos got a hint of what they should expect this year when their new-look side overpowered traditional football rivals Highlanders to lift the President's Independence Trophy at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.

DeMbare benefited the most from two costly mistakes involving veteran goalkeeper, Ariel Sibanda, to subdue their opponents in the first top-flight league match to be played in Zimbabwe in over a year.

New boy Trevor Mavhunga gave the Glamour Boys the opening goal with just six minutes played when Sibanda misjudged a bounce from a long-range shot.

Sibanda was involved in another schoolboy blunder which resulted in an own goal by Peter Muduhwa shortly after the restart.

The rust and lack of match fitness was evident from both sets of players but DeMbare still walked tall after they managed to protect their lead.

The Glamour Boys were in seventh heaven when the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry and Vice-President Constantine Chiwenga presented them with the silverware, which they had last won in 2017, ironically after beating the same opponents 3-2 in a penalty shootout.

Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya was excited by the win but was honest in his assessment that his team still needs to do more to improve their performance.

Both teams had only one week to prepare for the match as football marks its return on the domestic scene after a year of absence caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was a good display," said Ndiraya.

"I think we were solid in defence. We managed to restrict Highlanders to a few scoring chances. But what was important was the stage that we were given today to showcase our teams.

"I also think we haven't won this trophy in a long time. The game was a bit drab because of fitness issues but I thought we did well. I thought Highlanders controlled the match but we took advantage of the mistakes that they made and scored those two goals.

"Of course I am happy. It's a special cup to celebrate the Independence of our country. That's the importance of this day and this game more than anything else. So we are quite happy we are remaining with the trophy here.

"Credit to Highlanders. You could see that they are a team. We are not yet a team but I hope that as we go forward we take confidence from the win we got today. So I am happy for the team and happy for the fans. I just hope that we gel and play some good football," Ndiraya said.

Both Dynamos and Highlanders are building new teams in anticipation of the coming season.

Ndiraya and his Bosso counterpart Mandla Mpofu deployed almost all their players on the bench to assess their sides after they were granted the green light to use unlimited number of substitutes from their 18-man squads because of fitness concerns.

DeMbare surged ahead early after Bosso goalkeeper, Sibanda, was beaten by an awkward bounce from a shot taken from outside the box by Mavhunga.

But Highlanders had some good exchanges with DeMbare goalkeeper Taimon Mvula being called to action several times.

But DeMbare extended their lead following a communication breakdown between Sibanda and defender Muduhwa, whose intended back pass went straight into his own goal.

Bosso were an improved outfit in the second half with returning midfielder Joel Ngodzo showing he still has it in his 32-year-old feet.

Ngodzo, who won the last Soccer Star of the Year award at CAPS United in 2019, returned to Bosso last week after seven years.

But it was a bad day for Bosso goalkeeper, Sibanda, who rued the costly mistakes they made in the game.

"We tried our best but we made mistakes," said Sibanda.

"We tried to rectify our mistakes and we played a good passing game in the second half. We created some chances and I think we still need to work in that area going forward."

Highlanders won the last Independence Trophy when they beat Dynamos 2-0 in 2019.

"We can't really complain because whenever these two teams meet the feeling between the two sets of players is one has to go down.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't our day. But we still have time to work on our team so that by the time we meet again we will be in a good position to compete well against them," said Sibanda.

Teams

Dynamos: T. Mvula, E. Jalai, G. Murwira, F. Makarati, P. Jaure, S. Nyahwa (S. Appiah, 82nd minute), T. Mavhunga, T. Chidhobha (T. Muringai, 53rd minute), K. Nadolo (B. Mushunje, 73rd minute), A. Eonde (N. Sianchali, 53rd minute), T. Makanda (J. Selemani 73rd minute)

Highlanders: A. Sibanda, W. Mhango (J. Ngodzo, 65th minute), P. Muduhwa, N. Masuku, A. Mbeba, R. Lunga (P. Mpelele, 65th minute), C. Ncube (A. Tandi, 69th minute), M. Ndlovu, D. Mhindiriri, G. Makaruse (A. Silla, 65th minute) K. Mavhunga (L. Chikuhwa, 69th minute)

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