Zim forwards in goal feast
Harare ‑The dream Battle of The Glamour Boys will not happen this year, robbing the CAF Champions League of its multi-million-dollar knockout stages showdown, but it is not all doom and gloom in Zimbabwean football despite Dynamos’ early elimination from the tournament.
Democratic Republic of Congo side, AS Vita, champions of Africa in 1973 during the golden age of Congolese football in which their national team also conquered the continent and played at the 1974 World Cup finals, knocked out Dynamos in the first round and ensured that the Battle of The Glamour Boys would not be held this year.
Although the Glamour Boys of South Africa, Kaizer Chiefs, did their part by progressing to the second round, by crushing Mozambican side Liga Muculmana 7-0 on aggregate, the Glamour Boys of Zimbabwe, Dynamos, came short after a surprise defeat at the hands of the Congolese who prevented the Harare giants from scoring over two legs.
A first-half penalty, converted by Etekiama Taguy Agiti, separated the two clubs in a contest short on quality, and goals, and long on defence and AS Vita will now take their place in the second round against the Amakhosi.
It ended any hopes of a money-spinning two-legged duel between Dynamos and Kaizer Chiefs, a contest that would have been a best-seller, in terms of gate receipts, Match Day sponsorship and television rights, with football analysts in Zimbabwe saying the Harare giants would have easily filled the 60 000 capacity National Sports Stadium.
“Just A Dream, Dynamos miss out on Kaizer Chiefs blockbuster,” screamed top-selling Zimbabwean tabloid, H-Metro, on their back page on Monday, spicing their coverage with a graphic showing Dynamos coach Callisto Pasuwa dreaming of the Amakhosi showdown that never was.
“With the defeat, the blockbuster second round clash with South Africa glamour club Kaizer Chiefs went up in smoke and another chance might not present itself again in the near future,” said H-Metro in their report.
“Now, without the riches of the Kaizer Chiefs clash, Dynamos will be facing more financial problems as they seek to offset outstanding bonuses and sign-on fees.”
But while the dream Battle of the Glamour Boys has to wait for another year, it isn’t all doom and gloom for Zimbabwean football in the Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup with players from this country hogging the limelight with their goal-scoring prowess.
In just two rounds of matches in the Champions League and Confederation Cup, Zimbabwean strikers playing at home, in South Africa and in Libya have scored 20 goals with midfielders on target three times and defenders on target three times.
It’s an awesome return for a country that has struggled for sharp-shooters in recent years with the winners of the Golden Boot, in the domestic Premiership, struggling to pass the 20-goal mark and the absence of a trusted gunslinger slowing the Warriors’ quest to try and win the African Nations Championships earlier this year in South Africa.
Zimbabwe doesn’t have a forward who is playing top-flight football in the major leagues of Europe and the country’s best striker, Knowledge Musona, struggled badly to adjust to life in the German Bundesliga and, after two miserable years, he was loaned back to his old club, Kaizer Chiefs, in the South African Premiership. But, in the African inter-club competitions, the Zimbabwean forwards have been on fire this year, scoring for fun, with Kuda Musharu, who moved from the capital during the off-season, to join How Mine in Bulawayo, leading the way.
The nomadic forward, who won the championship with Motor Action and has also played for Monomotapa, has scored six goals in four appearances for How Mine in their debut season in the Confederation Cup.
Musharu has scored in every game that he has played for How Mine in the Confederation Cup, four times at home with a brace against Chuoni FC of Zanzibar at Barbourfields and another brace against St Michel of the Seychelles at the same ground.
He has also scored away from home and was on target once in the 2-1 win away in Zanzibar and the vital away goal in the surprise 1-3 away loss to St Michel in the Seychelles.
“He is hungry for success,” How Mine coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube said of his new forward. “To have chosen Bulawayo ahead of Harare teams means he has a score to settle.
“He wants to prove so many people wrong.”
Musharu’s teammates have also contributed to the goal feast with midfielder Menard Mupera on target twice, Thembani Masuku on target twice and Warren Dube scoring once while defender Morris Kadzola also has a goal in the Confederation Cup.
But it’s in the Champions League where the Zimbabwean forwards are really hogging the limelight.
Musona has scored four goals for Kaizer Chiefs in the two rounds of their Champions League assignments, including a hat trick in the 3-0 victory over Liga Muculmana in Maputo at the weekend, his fellow Zimbabwe international forward, Kingston Nkhatha has scored three times for the Amakhosi while Matthew Rusike has been on target once.
Nkhatha was at the heart of Chiefs’ success over Black Africa of Namibia in the preliminary round, with three goals in two legs, while Musona was the soul of the Amakhosi win over Liga Muculmana with his four goals, over two legs, sinking the Mozambicans.
Edward Sadomba, the Zimbabwe international who is now playing in Libya for Al Ahly Benghazi, has also been impressive, in front of goal, for his team who have stormed into the second round of the Champions League despite playing their home matches in Tunisia.
Sadomba has three goals under his belt, in four Champions League assignments, while Washington Pakamisa, who missed Dynamos’ tie in Kinshasa because of an injury, leaves the Champions League this season with two goals while his teammates, Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo and Masimba Mambare have a goal each.