Football fiesta kicks off

BLACK Rhinos bagged the first three points of the 2014 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season, thanks to a solitary strike by Brian Muzondikwa as they beat Bantu Rovers at Luveve Stadium yesterday. The game, that kicked off at lunch time, saw Bantu Rovers dominating play in the first half but it was Rhinos who managed to utilise the only chance they got in that period and with it the three points that were at stake.

Ironically, Muzondikwa grabbed the first goal of the 2014 Premiership season in the 18th minute when Bantu failed to clear the ball in a rare onslaught by the visitors and the 21-year-old player bamboozled an opposition defender  before slotting it past a hapless Takunda Mutanga, who was in between the posts for the Premiership returnees.

At the same venue, Chicken Inn also got their season off to a bright start when they fired three past Harare City during the second game of the day.

First half goals from Canaan Nkomo, Mkhokheli Dube and a second half strike from substitute Ishmael Lawe saw the Joey Antipas-coached Gamecocks collect the three points.

It took Chicken Inn seven minutes to find the target, Nkomo coming to the end of an immaculate exchange of passes between Brian Juru and Dube, which saw Nkomo firing from close range past Zimbabwe Warriors fringe goal-minder Maxwell Nyamupanedengu in goals for Harare City.

The home side doubled up their lead with 34 minutes played, Dube controlling well a switch pass from the left and held his composure to blast the ball past Nyamupanedengu for the second of the game.

Chicken Inn completed the rout a minute before full time, Nyamupanedengu failing to make a clean save off a Ncube goal attempt and the ball fell for Lawe who slammed it into the back of the nets.

In Gweru, Ishemunyoro Chingwere saw Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu dropping points in the opening match of the season as Highlanders were held to goalless draw by a returning Chapungu at Ascot.

The visitors were largely expected to make little work of the airmen but were uninspiring and must have left bitter taste in the mouth of their faithful whose hopes for a success-laden season have been upped by the arrival of marquee signings in the off season.
After the match Kaindu put up a brave face saying he had been impressed by his side’s performance.

“Certainly not the start we would have wanted but we are happy with the overall performance. I would not blame my strikers for failing to convert because its a collective responsibility,” he said.

Nyikadzino said in as much as he was happy with the point picked, he felt his charges deserved all three.
“Our aim was to collect three points after five years in the wilderness (division one). We will continue working hard and try to improve on taking the chances that come our way,” Nyikadzino said.

In Chiredzi Langton Nyakwenda reports that; A late equaliser by Thabani Kamusoko spoiled Moses Chunga’s return to the Premiership as 10-men Chiredzi almost shocked pre-season favourites FC Platinum at Shamiso yesterday.

Chiredzi FC, silky for most parts of the game, took the lead after only 30 seconds when Munya Chiwara tapped home a cross from the lively Tapiwa Dethisitara.

The home team cheered on by thousands of supporters on their Premier League debut hung on the lead up until two minutes into stoppage time when Kamusoko broke their hearts with a thumping header off a corner by Rafael Muduviwa.
A confident Chunga immediately warned the other PSL teams against underrating his side.

“I have more than 30 years experience both as a player and coach hence I am not an underdog. No team coached by Bambo is an underdog, we are as equal as the other PSL teams and I am sure we will be able to build on this impressive start,” he said.

In the capital, Mighty Warriors and Black Rhinos striker Rutendo Makore ran riot scoring five goals as Mufakose Queens were pummelled into submission during  a NetOne Knock-out Tournament semi-final played at Rufaro yesterday. Black Rhinos now await the winner from the other semi-final set for today pitting Inline Soccer Academy and Cyclone Stars in Bulawayo.

Also, newly elected Harare Youth League chairman, Godwin Gomwe, yesterday held eight-team football tournament, which had the sole purpose of rewarding the capital’s youth for their entrepreneurship.

The football tournament, which comprised of self employed youths from the Budiriro and Glen View area, was sponsored to the tune of US$2 000.
The eight teams – Glen View Stars, Gaza Stars, Mafara, Budiriro, KJ Jop Stars, Glen View Carpenters FC, Gwese and Gaze – were put into two groups with the top two playing in the finals.

KJ Stars won 3-1 on penalties after they played to an one all draw against GV Carpenters in the final.

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