The Sunday Mail
Oscar Rusenga in TRIANGLE
Manica Diamonds . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Yadah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
YOUTHFUL Yadah put on a spirited performance as they dispatched fancied Manica Diamonds in an otherwise tightly contested Castle Lager Premiership match at Gibbo yesterday.
After losing a host of their players at the end of last season, Yadah are on a rebuilding exercise that is anchored in a number of young players.
With pint-sized midfielder Charles Moffat controlling the tempo of the game and covering almost every blade of grass, Yadah took the game to their hosts with much authority.
The visitors did not relent once Mandlenkosi Mlilo thrust them into the lead in the 10th minute.
For Manica Diamonds’ leading marksman and Premiership top-scorer Fortune Binzi, it was the second successive game that he fired blanks.
Binzi fluffed his lines when presented with a good chance to draw the hosts level after 25 minutes off a good cross from Charles Teguru.
In scoring the goal that made the difference, Mlilo received an assist from Tawanda Musariri, who pounced on Trevor Mavhunga’s bad clearance.
Moffat could have doubled the lead on the cusp of half-time after a beautiful back-heel by captain Vincent Sango set him up, but he somehow drove his attempt wide off Tadious Baye’s goal.
Although they only got a single goal, the scoreline did not reflect the chances that Yadah created.
Moffat had another shot saved by Baye in the 57th minute after a good pass from substitute Junior Zindoga.
Three minutes later, it was Moffat’s turn to return the favour with a very good pass to Zindoga but the giant forward shot wide from close range.
Hosts coach Jairos Tapera tried a different tactical approach in the second period, as he introduced Donald Ngoma, Brian Chikwenya and Jeffrey Takunda. And the decision almost reaped rewards but Yadah rode on their luck.
Binzi was pushed wide as Ngoma took the central position.
The top-scorer immediately won a penalty after he was brought down inside the box when through on goal with 10 minutes remaining.
After referee Arnold Ncube, who handled the match well, signalled for a penalty, Manica Diamonds had some drama of their own.
First it was Binzi who looked to be taking the kick before he passed on the responsibility to Ngoma, who is understood to have requested to take the penalty.
Ngoma is desperate to find a goal after being on the sidelines for six weeks following a tendon injury.
Just as Ngoma appeared ready to take the penalty, another instruction came from the technical bench, directing skipper Liberty Chakoroma to make the attempt from the spot.
Chakoroma’s kick was eventually saved by Yadah goalkeeper Panashe Nyabunga.
“It was a painful loss against Yadah. We did everything that we could. We defended well, created chances but we couldn’t score,’’ Tapera said.
“It was Donald Ngoma’s first game after about six weeks. He wanted to start scoring but we felt we needed to give it to someone who has been doing well on penalties. Unfortunately, he missed and it’s part of the game.
“We now need to focus on our next match against Hwange, away. It’s going to be a difficult game, but we are in a competition and those are the kinds of games you want to play and do well,’’ he said.
For Yadah coach Expense Chitukutuku, it is the progress his team is showing which is making him a happy man.
“My guys are improving with each and every game. We are working quite hard and I am confident that they are going to do something in this league.
“That penalty save was motivational; we have a top-class goalkeeper who is a very good shot stopper and he plays well with his feet and he is a blessing to the club,’’ he said.
Tedious Baye, Lawrence Masibera (Brian Chikwenya 70min), Farai Banda, Kelvin Gwao, Trevor Mavhunga, Liberty Chakoroma, Pasca Manhanga (Jeffrey Takunda 70min), Bret Amidu (Michael Tapera 82min), Fortune Binzi, Charles Teguru, Gerald Bhero (Donald Ngoma 46min)
Panashe Nyabunga, Brian Kadamanja, Charles Moffat (Prosper Kafelapanjila 89), Cryrodge Denhere (Junior Zindoga 49min), Tawanda Musariri, Clive Mandivei, Emmanuel Saidi, Mandlenkosi Mlilo, Blessed Ndereki, Vincent Sango, Wellington Kamudyariwa