ZIMBABWE . . . . . . . (1) 3
ZAMBIA . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
TALENT Chawapiwa was the star of the show, as brilliant Zimbabwe beat old rivals Zambia to win the Cosafa Castle Cup, for a record fifth title, at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in South Africa’s North West Province yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA IN RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
The midfielder, deservedly voted man-of-the-match for his outstanding performance, restored the Warriors’ lead in the 56th minute after substitute Lubia Mundia’s 39th minute header for Zambia had cancelled out Knox Mutizwa’s 21st minute opener.
Ocean Mushure made sure of the win on 66th minute when he connected home a Chawapiwa’s clever cut back.
It was a win that the Warriors richly deserved after dominating the tournament, where they beat everyone who was in their way with ruthless and brutal efficiency.
They ended the tournament with an incredible 19 goals from six matches, only conceding just five.
Team skipper Ovidy Karuru contributed six of the Warriors goals to win the golden boot award, another record at this tournament, to add to his two man-of-the-match accolades.
Mutizwa, who finished one goal behind Karuru, was voted player of the tournament, although some would feel the latter deserved it more.
Mushure, playing in a more advanced position, scored four goals, as the Warriors players took position one, two and three on the top goalscorers standings.
For their efforts, Zimbabwe received a trophy and half a million rand, while Zambia got a R250 000 consolation.
Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa, who became the most successful coach in this tournament with three titles following the win yesterday, congratulated his players for a job well done.
With the two teams at par in terms of titles won before the start of the match yesterday, it was Zambia who settled first, winning two free-kicks early on which they both wasted, while Gerald Takwara flashed his header wide when Zimbabwe also got an opportunity from a set-piece.
Jackson Chirwa then forced goalkeeper George Chigova — brought back in the first 11 after missing the semis — into a tipping save after some quick interchanges by the Zambians.
Zambia had started the match the better side, but Zimbabwe managed to weather the storm with some threats of their own, particularly on the left wing where Karuru and Mushure operated.
The Warriors had settled and got their heads in front when a long ball by Chigova found left-back Honest Moyo, whose cross looked poor initially, but Mutizwa ghosted to steal the ball from Zambia goalkeeper Chibwe, who appeared to have covered it.
Zambia briefly looked shaken by the goal, and they needed a response, but were restricted to some pot shots from outside the box.
There could have been further goals by the Warriors moments later, Mutizwa getting to an end of a slick passing move to come eyeball to eyeball with the keeper, who saved well from his shot.
Mushure then rippled the top of the net with a free-kick, before failing to turn home a cross from Chawapiwa.
The Warriors would be made to rue the chances when a cross from the right was headed home by Mundia, with his first touch of the ball having came on for the injured Mike Katiba some seconds before.
Liberty Chakoroma then blasted over from a cutback by the impressive Chawapiwa, who had for the second time, managed to beat two defenders with some sheer speed and brilliance to get into the opponents’ box.
Zimbabwe started the second half the better side, and Mutizwa should have doubled the Warriors advantage on 49 minutes when he dispossessed a defender to run clear, but shot straight at keeper.
Zimbabwe regained the lead when Mushure’s cross was headed on to the post by Mutizwa. The rebound fell to Chawapiwa, who beat a defender before unleashing a grasscutter that hit the back of the net, a goal that his performance deserved.
The FC Platinum player then turned provider 10 minutes later when he got behind the defence before selflessly pulling the ball back for Mushure, who fired with his right foot.
Sadly, the livewire Chawapiwa was injured after being chopped down by a Zambian defender with 10 minutes of the match remaining.
Zambia threw numbers forward in the later stages of the match, but the defensive pillar of Moyo, Bruce Homora, Jimmy Tigere and Eric Chipeta, with the help of anchormen Gerald Takwara and Chakoroma holding firm.
After the final whistle, the players, supporters and the technical staff were united in celebrating the huge win, and the celebrations went on, and on and on.
Zimbabwe: G Chigova, H Moyo, B Homora, J Tigere, E Chipeta, L Chakoroma, G Takwara, O Karuru, O Mushure, T Chawapiwa (M Katsvairo, 80′), K Mutizwa
Zambia: A Chibwe, L Chungu (B Muchindu, 63′), I Shamujompa, W Mulenga, A Chama, J Chirwa, M Phiri (G Ngwenya, 69′), D Malama, M Katiba (L Mundia, 38′), J Shonga, B Mwila