Black Mambas (1)1
Harare City (0)1
Report by Ranganai Dzotizei
BLACK Mambas and Harare City played a one-all draw in an incident-filled match at Morris Depot yesterday.
Before the match even started, Mambas defender Sam Mutenheri was shown a red card by fourth official Ruzive Ruzive for alleged insubordination, in a suspected case of juju as the host players blocked their counterparts as they were warming up.
To add salt to injury, Mambas team manager, Teddy Zhou was also sent to the stands in the second-half for remonstrating with Ruzive after the referee gave City a throw which should have gone Mambas’ way.
Away from the off field drama, the match produced two goals with Proud Khumalo scoring for the prison side while Raphael Manuvire equalised for the City Fathers.
Tension was written all over the game script for the first 30 minutes as the teams battled to seize the initiative and it was after 33 minutes that the prison side surged ahead.
A free-kick by Innocent Nyoni was chested down by Khumalo who found some space to rifle home beyond the reach of City’s goalkeeper John Nomore.
City, who caused anxious moments in the first period but to no avail, came stumbling out of their blocks after the breather and before the fans had taken their seats, they were level, thanks to Manuvire.
Speedy striker Godfrey Nguwodzawo flighted a cross for Nathan Ziwini who beat one marker before chipping goalwards. Manuvire completed the move heading past Tonderai Mateyaunga to silence the home crowd.
The game suddenly turned into a drowsy affair with both sides playing as if they had connived to share the points during the break.
Mambas, buoyed by their singing fans, tried in vain to snatch the winner but on the day Frank Kanda and Honey Chitutimunzeve, two of their consistent goal getters, surprisingly started from the bench, couldn’t force through matters.
City coach Bigboy Mawiwi was happy with a point although he blamed his strikers for lack of precision upfront.
“It was a tough game which we could have won but our conversion rate was poor. However, an away point is satisfactory,” he said.
Mambas’ assistant coach Martin Bonongwe declined to comment on Mutenheri’s early exit but was defiant his team would survive the chop.
“The incident was a psychological thing. I don’t really know what transpired so I can’t comment but on the outcome, it was fine. We are confident we can stay in the league next season if we build on this,” he said.
Both teams will at least remain unchanged going into the next round with Mambas on 11th place with 22 points while City remain 10th with 25 points.