CAPS UNITED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0
FLAME LILY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
CAPS United goalkeeper Criss Mverechena stole the show yesterday with several classy stops that kept his side in the game against a plucky Flame Lily in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at the National Sports Stadium.
The 19-year-old’s heroics earned him a standing ovation from Caps United fans at the final whistle with some splashing money on him in appreciation of his outstanding performance.
Caps United coach Mark Harrison described him as the best goalkeeper in the country. “I have a 19-year-old goalkeeper who is the best in the country. Any club that wants him should expect to pay millions. You saw his display today. He is agile and takes some crosses well, but just needs to work on a few areas like distribution,” said Harrison.
The Englishman, however, described the result as “shocking”.
“It’s a shocking result. After all the euphoria about the players getting paid their salaries and bonuses they got carried away. I have given them some days off during this break to go and relax with their families and come back focused on the job,” said a dejected Harrison.
“Drawing against Flame Lily is not acceptable. I am not disrespecting Flame Lily, but we didn’t play well. We were too easy, too loose. The young guys got carried away after all the euphoria about getting paid and I told them at half time they shouldn’t get carried away.”
His counterpart Backlyfield Chivenga was clearly happy with the result in his first assignment since he was appointed to the top post to replace Nesbert Saruchera, who was dismissed last week.
“We went into the match with a little bit of caution. We knew we were playing a big team so we wanted to contain them and once we got into our gear, we managed to get a point. I am happy with the result. The two-week break is a blessing in disguise to us because we need time to beef up some grey areas,” said Chivenga. Flame Lily started brightly with Macmillian Chigora coming close after just four minutes, but missed a headed opportunity following a cross from Gift Phiri. Edwin Madhanaga had his dipping free-kick tipped over the bar by Mverechena on 19 minutes.
Caps United, however, also threatened with Godknows Mangani coming close in the 26th minute only for his effort to be saved by goalkeeper Earnmore Hamandishe, who was injured in a nasty collision with Kudzai Nyamupfukudza and had to be pulled out.
Mangani also missed a headed opportunity on 42 minutes as his downward header was saved by the keeper.
Caps United strikers Leonard Tsipa and Rodreck Mutuma, who started from the bench after being banished for “quitting” the club at the height of the cash crisis, struggled to break down Flame Lily.
Tsipa was guilty of a glaring miss on 54 minutes following a wonderful delivery into the danger zone from the right by Mutuma.
Caps United: C Mverechena, H Zvirekwi, R Pfumbidzai, C Munzabwa, S Makatuka, G Nyirenda, M Muchenje (V Musarurwa 73rd), G Mangani, T Mahori (R Matova 62nd), K Nyamupfukudza (R Mutuma 41st), L Tsipa
Flame Lily: E Hamandishe (P Chigumba 46th), E Madanhaga, B Chayambuka, B Chandisaita, G Phiri, W Muronda (M Demera 66th), E Kopeni, T Huwa, M Muponda, V Mukudo, M Chigora (P Chinyama 68th min).