Billiat set for Warriors return . . .Chirinda scores on Ngezi Platinum debut

16 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Billiat set for Warriors return . . .Chirinda scores on Ngezi Platinum debut

The Sunday Mail

Zimpapers Sports Hub

Yadah Stars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1

Manica Diamonds . . . . . . . . (1) 1

FORMER Warriors captain Khama Billiat’s return to the national team looks imminent if events at the Heart Stadium yesterday are anything to go by.

Interim coach Jairos Tapera had a brief chat with Billiat at the end of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Yadah and Manica Diamonds. Billiat did not immediately respond to the coach’s exaltation as he would need to make further consultations.

He, however, rescued a point for Yadah with a second-half equaliser. It is still not official, but our sources say Tapera has assured Billiat he will be one of the few over 23 players in the squad for the COSAFA tournament, which runs from June 26 to July 7 in Durban, South Africa.

Billiat proved why he is still an asset for any team when he scored his fifth goal of the season yesterday. He headed home in the 63rd minute to cancel out Charles Teguru’s
first-half opener.

Teguru sneaked in behind a sleepy Yadah Stars defence and nodded the ball home.

When Manica Diamonds thought they were coasting to a 10th win in 11 matches, Billiat defied his height and planted a header that went in off a defender.

“It was important to keep pushing, we needed to push more men forward after we had gone behind,” Billiat, who put on a man-of-the-match performance, said.

“We will keep focused and keep working hard.”

Billiat was denied a first-half goal after the assistant referee judged that his effort had not crossed the line.

As a result of the draw, Manica Diamonds relinquished top spot to FC Platinum, who beat Bulawayo Chiefs 1-0 at Luveve yesterday.

Pure Platinum Play now have 31 points, one more than Manica Diamonds, who remain unbeaten in 11 matches.

It was an exciting match between Yadah Stars and Manica Diamonds, which was watched by a decent crowd, including Warriors captain Marvelous Nakamba.

The Luton Town star showed some appreciation when Manica Diamonds striker Michael Tapera cut inside from the left and curled a beauty that was tipped for a corner by an alert George Munhupedzi after 77 minutes.

Jerry Chipangura could have sealed the game for Yadah in added time, but he shot wide from close range.

Manica Diamonds coach Tapera felt his team dropped two points yesterday, but vowed they would come back stronger in their next match.

“We need to keep grinding so that we have as many points as possible,” said Tapera.

At Luveve Stadium, the FC Platinum victory over Bulawayo Chiefs means they are now top of the table with 31 points, followed by Manica Diamonds, who are second with 30 points after their one-all stalemate against Yadah.

In their last six matches, FC Platinum have won five and managed one stalemate.

Davison Marowa scored the only goal of the match in the 38th minute, firing home from inside the box. This was after capitalising on the hosts’ poor defending, with Xolisani Moyo the main culprit as his casual attempt to clear the ball in the buildup to the goal resulted in the heavy punishment.

FC Platinum had the first attempt at goal, with Lawrence Mhlanga’s shot saved by Tatenda Ndlovu after seven minutes of play.

Moments later, Leroy Ndlovu found himself in a good position inside the FC Platinum box, but was let down by his decision-making.

Just after the break, Ndlovu found himself through at goal, but an alert David Bizabani in goal for FC Platinum left his line in time to rescue the situation.

Marowa almost doubled his tally 12 minutes into the second half, but shot wide from a promising position inside the box.

That was just before Ndlovu produced a brilliant point-blank save to deny Panashe Mutimbanyoka from close range.

Bulawayo Chiefs felt they had a genuine penalty call turned down 15 minutes to the final whistle when Brian Banda brought down Panashe Shoko inside the box, but referee Thembinkoso Sibanda turned down the appeal.

A diving Mbongeni Ndlovu made a crucial block to divert an on-target Never Rauzhi shot from inside the box.

The winning coach, Norman Mapeza, was not that pleased with how his players performed on the day. He was worried that they missed a glut of chances, owing to poor decisions.

“In terms of performance, I don’t think we did well. We had some good opportunities, but were poor in decision-making in the final third,” he said. “Maybe it was because of the break and the momentum dropped a little bit.

“At the end of the day, what was important was getting maximum points and focus on the next match.”

Mapeza pointed out that the just-ended break had an effect on his players’ catch-up.

Bulawayo Chiefs, on the other hand, played according to plan and their biggest letdown was the mistake in conceding the goal, according to coach Thulani Sibanda.

“It wasn’t a difficult game. We were playing according to our game plan, until that mistake by Xolisani Moyo. What we intended was not to allow them to play in between us and we were doing very well.

“We did create chances. I thought we could get something out of those chances,” said Sibanda.

At Baobab Stadium, champions Ngezi Platinum thumped Chicken Inn 3-0.

Obriel Chirinda came off the bench to score an injury-time goal on his debut following the release of his licence by the Premier Soccer League after the intervention of the ZIFA Player Status Committee.

Ngezi Platinum led 2-0 at half-time through goals by Talent Chamboko in the 15th minute and Takunda Benhura after 27 minutes.

At Wadzanai Stadium, Simba Bhora eased to a 3-0 win over newcomers Arenel.

Warriors striker Tymon Machope scored a brace, while Mthokozisi Msebe scored the third.

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