Big Bullets . . . . . . (1) 2
Caps United . . . . . .(1) 1
CAPS United surrendered the Zambezi Challenge Cup after losing to Big Bullets of Malawi in a match played at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, Malawi, yesterday.
From Tawanda Tafirenyika in Blantyre, Malawi
The Harare football giants won the inaugural cup last year after defeating Mighty Wanderers by a goal to nil in the finals at the same venue last year.
Veteran defender Fischer Kondowe belied his rather advanced age to score a stunning freekick for the hosts before weighing in with an assist at the death to bury the visitors.
Kondowe (37) displayed stunning athleticism not consistent with his age, covering every blade of the grass as he inspired his side to a memorable victory.
Bullets won a free kick outside the area after Klive Sibanda fouled Dalisto Sailes on 12 minutes and beat a drawn out goalkeeper Itai Chiwara with a dipping freekick.
He then set up substitute Musa Manyenje in referee’s optional time who beat Chiwara with a low shot.
That goal, however, sparked protest from the visiting team as Manyenje appeared to be in an offside position.
Caps United captain George Nyirenda was sent off in the process after he shoved referee Ishmael Chizinga.
However, despite conceding an early goal, Caps United refused to be cowed into submission by their more illustrious opponents who are playing in the African Champions League.
They had an interlude of beautiful movements and passing that silenced the noisy home support.
They roared back like an unstoppable force of nature with Ishmael Thindwa firing a beautiful leveller after picking a long ball dispatched by the keeper on 25 minutes.
That goal gave them hope and they were all over their opponents, with Gerald Phiri coming close towards the end after a set up by Thindwa only for his effort to go inches wide.
Carlosi Messi, who came in for Thindwa in the 70th minute, could have levelled matters after pouncing on a loose ball in the penalty area, but watched his effort crashed against the upright.
However, the home team also threatened with some fine raids, but goalkeeper Itai Chiwara was uncompromising as he denied their attack fronted by Manyenje with several classy stops.
The performance by Caps United underlines the depth they have this season considering that they left a number of regulars back home.
And assistant coach Brenna Msiska said he was satisfied with the performance of his players and declared that there will be fireworks this season.
He, however, blamed poor officiating for his side’s loss.
“It was a spendid display from the guys. They played well and I cannot ask for me. Big Bullets played well but we had better chances than them. If they had not been aided by the referee we could have won,” Msiska said.
His counterpart Ramadhan Nsanzurwimo said: “The game was tough, a highly physical one, but we thank God we took our chances. We deserved victory. It is a good win for us as we prepare for our Champions League match, but I was not happy with the referee today. Look, how many penalties we could had.”
Big Bullets got three million kwacha ($6 800) for winning the match, while Caps United received one million kwacha ($2 200). The Caps United squad is expected back home this afternoon.