THREE Zimbabweans — Esrom Nyandoro, Nyasha Mushekwi and Method Mwanjali — lost out on a major jackpot after their Mamelodi Sundowns team were beaten by Bloemfontein Celtic in the Telkom Knockout Cup final on Saturday night.
Report by Henry Mhara
Had Sundowns emerged victorious, players and the technical team were to share the R4 250 000 prize money, as has been the policy at Chloorkop.
With 30 players registered at the club, each was expected to take home approximately R140 000.
The players will now share the R1 750 000 runners-up prize.
What makes the loss more painful is it came controversially when a Joel Mogorosi second-half header on the back post was allowed to stand.
Television replays showed that the whole circumference of the ball did not cross the line.
Nyandoro played the full match while Mushekwi came in as a 75th minute substitute.
Mwanjali could not make it to the final 18.
The defeat has already claimed the scalp of head coach Johan Neeskens, shown the exit door just hours after the match.
He has been replaced by former South Africa national team coach Pitso Mosimane.
The latest appointment at Sundowns has probably ushered a sigh of fresh air at the big-spending club currently second from the bottom on the log standings.
Players like Mwanjali, who had been pushed to the fringes, would be looking for a fresh start with the new coach.
Mushekwi was also not Neeskens’ favourite as the former Caps United striker was restricted to some cameo roles at the club.
However, Mushekwi’s situation could become even more complex as he would be battling for a striking position with injury returnee Katlego Mphela, a darling with Mosimane.
“If there is a better striker than Katlego Mphela in the country bring him to me. I want to see him. He is the best we have,” Mosimane was quoted in the Press last year.
Sundowns travel to highflying Free State Stars tomorrow.
It was not a good weekend for Zimbabwean players in Belgium, Ovidy Karuru and Vusa Nyoni’s clubs failed to collect maximum points.
Karuru played for 77 minutes as his ninth-placed OH Leuven team were held to a 1-all draw by Gent to stretch their winless streak to five games, while Nyoni played the whole match as Beerschot, 12th on the log, also shared spoils with Zulte-Waregem.
Former Highlanders striker Eddie Mashinya was a second-half substitute as Ethnikos Achna team snatched a point at Doxa in Cyprus.
Still in Cyprus, Noel Kaseke was back on the starting line-up for Alki, but could not help the third-from-the bottom side falling to Ayiya Napa.
In Denmark, Quincy Antipas returned to the foot of the table after a 3-0 defeat to Uefa Champions league participant Nordsjælland.
Bradley Pritchard, expected to be part of the nucleus of the Warriors new set-up, played the full match for English championship side Charlton Athletic as they battled to a goalless draw away to Millwall.
Charlton are 11 points shy of log leaders Cardiff City as the race for the Barclays English Premier League ticket reached the halfway mark over the weekend.
In contrast, Onismor Bhasera’s league Two club Plymouth Argyle, a fourth division in England, is facing relegation as they sit fourth from the bottom. They are winless in eight games, collecting just a point from those games.