OZIAS Zibande rose from the bench, laced up his boots and went on to score a brace to help Highlanders overcome new boys Herentals in a Castle Lager Premiership match at the National Sports Stadium.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Zibande was introduced in the 56th minute for Newman Sianchali and his first touch forced Herentals goalkeeper, Prince Tafiremutsa into a fine save.
He made amends in the 63rd minute, planting a downward header from a well taken corner kick by Nigel Makumbe.
He completed his brace in the 83rd minute, with a replica of the first goal.
The score line flatters Highlanders, as they were lucky to survive a series of raids by Herentals.
The Premiership new boys never showed any respect for their illustrious opponents, as they launched waves of attacks on their opponents’ goal, but were let down by poor finishing.
Herentals forward, Archmore Majarira had a chance in the fifth minute, but directed his effort wide.
Majarira was guilty again in the 31st minute, blasting his effort over the bar when he only had the goalkeeper to beat after a wonderful set up by Innocent Benza.
Benza, who is the owner of the team, was passive for the better of the match, but on the few occasions that he got the ball, he did not put a foot wrong.
At the start of the second half, Herentals continued with their dominance and Blessing Majarira’s delivery in the penalty area found no takers seven minutes after the restart.
Sensing danger, Highlanders coach, Madinda Ndlovu, made a double substitution, bringing on Zibande in place of Sianchali, while Brian Banda came on for Ben Musaka.
And it worked wonders, as the combination of the pair turned the game on its head, resulting in Zibande scoring a double.
Ndlovu was happy with the victory, but admitted they weren’t good enough in the first half.
“We didn’t start this game very well,” he lamented. I should give credit to Herentals for doing their homework right. We failed in the whole of the first half, we couldn’t penetrate them as we had planned. Above all, I give credit to my boys for their performance. At half time, we corrected where we lacking, we made substitutions and we got the goals. We need players like Ozias coming from the bench and scoring goals for us, that is what he did and it is the culture that we talking about.
“Today, he has sent a message, and it is really amazing how he came on to score those goals and I say thumbs up to him.”
Herentals coach, Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva, blamed inexperience and their failure to defend set pieces.
“It is the same scenario as that with Ngezi Platinum, where we are failing to deal with set pieces particularly corner kicks,” he said.
“That’s where we are falling short and we got punished. Lack of experience is coming in. Overall, I am quite happy with the performance. We had a number of good chances with our strikers failing to convert. But I am impressed with the performance.”
P Tafiremutsa, B Maunganidze, C Mavhurume, B Majarira, W Chimbetu, W Kapumha, H Chiwandamidza, J Mutudza (J Jimu 71), A Majarira, I Benza, (T Dube 67′), B Majarira (T Benza 70′)
Highlanders: A Sibanda, H Moyo, M Phiri, S Adrian, B Musaka (B Banda 56′), N Sianchali (O Zibande 56′), G Makaruse, T Ndlovu, P Muduhwa, G Nyoni, N Makumbe