With the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) championship now almost beyond their reach, Caps United had pinned their hopes of making 2017 a successful year by claiming the Chibuku Super Cup, but with the abandonment of their quarter-final clash against Shabanie at Maglas Stadium on Sunday, their season has unravelled.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
It’s now clear that the Green Machine will finish the campaign empty-handed.
For a team that had achieved a lot last term after winning the league title for the first time since the glory days under Charles Mhlauri when they won back-to-back championships in 2004 and 2005, expectations from their multitude of fans were high this term.
For a team that had defied odds stacked against them to knock out five-time African champions TP Mazembe in the prestigious African Champions League and also thrashing Zamalek, another African football giant, 3-1 on their way to a historic
mini-league phase of the tournament, Caps United’s future looked so bright it could burn the eyes.
But after failing to go beyond the group stage, they struggled to reproduce their form on the domestic scene and had a spate of dreadful results, including defeats to lowly teams like Yadah FC.
The Green Machine, desperate to win some silverware, had their eyes firmly fixed on the Chibuku Super Cup, the richest knockout tournament in the country which guarantees winners a ticket to the Caf Confederation Cup tournament, especially after the other big teams, Dynamos, Highlanders and FC Platinum, had been booted out.
However, events at Maglas on Sunday could see Lloyd Chitembwe and his men joining that trio on the sidelines.
Their match against Shabanie Mine was abandoned after 65 minutes with the home team leading 1-0 — courtesy of a headed goal by former Dynamos defender William Mapfumo — after assistant referee Thomas Kusosa was hit by a missile from a bay housing the visitors’ supporters in protest after the assistant referee flagged for offside a goal by Caps United’s Kudzai Nyamupfukudza.
Referee of the day, Philani Ncube, after consultation with the match commissioner, Gladmore Muzambi, decided to call off the match.
Although the two teams will now appear before the PSL disciplinary committee, Caps United will make legal history if found not guilty.
According to the rules and regulations governing the tournament, if a match is abandoned, the matter shall be referred to the disciplinary committee, which shall impose a fine of not less than $2 000 on the guilty team.
The match result is awarded to the opposing team on a 3-0 winning scoreline or more if the opposing team has already reached a higher score.
In a statement yesterday, the PSL said: “The Premier Soccer League has received the official match report from the referee for the abandoned Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final match between Shabanie Mine FC and Caps United FC played at Maglas Stadium on Sunday October 8, 2017.
“We have requested the two clubs to send their reports detailing what transpired. Thereafter, we will advise our stakeholders on the way forward.
“We take this opportunity to condemn violence and hooliganism at our stadia.
“We appeal to law enforcement agents to identify perpetrators of violence and bring them to book to make sure our stadia are safe.
“We further urge all football leaders to educate their fans on the dangers of violence and hooliganism.”
Chicken Inn, who were found guilty of causing the abandonment of their first-round match against Yadah FC, were fined and banned from the tournament next year, while their opponents were awarded the match on a 3-0 scoreline.