BY HENRY MHARA
Herentals . . . . . . . 0
TelOne . . . . . . . . . . . 0
ADJUSTING to the rigorous life of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer is often easier said than done, but for league debutants TelOne, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic going forward after they impressed in their opening match in the top-flight against Herentals at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
On a day when lady luck badly deserted them, the WiFi boys were left to rue a handful of missed chances in a game they dominated for longer periods, and probably deserve more than just one point.
Their coach Jairosi Tapera was left purring on his boys’ performance on the day, but he knows that they will need to improve in departments more than one, if they will meet
their season’s objective of surviving relegation.
“The boys did very well on their first game of the season in the league. We had chances that we could have scored and they had chances that they could have scored also. But I think we were much more organised, and in general play we were better than them. We only need to work on areas of finishing, and we will come right,” Tapera said.
“Our objective is to survive, and then next year we can set targets of, say we want to finish in the top eight or so. Football is about seeing mistakes and correcting them. I could see some mistakes today which we will need to rectify. But . . . there is plenty room for improvement.”
By halftime TelOne should have been out of sight as they created the better chances, which the players somehow contrived to miss.
For all their dominance though, the closest they came to scoring was when Emmanuel Zinyama’s shot from an acute angle shaving the top of the cross bar while Mosfat Ponyera’s
shot was cleared off the line.
In response, Herentals looked out of sorts in the first half and they had only one shot on target the entire 45 minutes, Richard Hachiro almost catching the badly positioned
goalkeeper William Huni who had to scamper back to acrobatically tip the volley hit from way outside the box
That pattern of play continued at the start of the second half, with TelOne showing no respect for their elder brothers, and completely dominating proceedings with some neat build-ups.
The troublesome Ponyera was denied by Herentals goalkeeper Simbarashe Gondo who had to stretch to his maximum limit to block the goal bound shot on 47th minute and moments
later, the striker dragged his shot wide.
In between, the visitors had a genuine shout for a penalty after Emmanuel Mandiranga was hacked by a defender inside the area. The referee chose to look the other way.
Marvellous Chigumire was having a field day for TelOne on the right flank. On 55th minute, the right back danced his way into the box, beating two defenders but could not beat the impressive and overworked Gondo.
The home side responded by introducing Kelvin Bingala and the former Mutare City man helped to stabilise the midfield and neutralise the marauding Chigumire.
TelOne had missed a lot of chances this far and they were almost punished for their impotency when Blessing Majarira found himself with acres of space inside the box. But instead of passing the ball to the better positioned Innocent Benza, the skipper went for goal and his shot only clipping the top of the bar on its way out.
After that, Herentals improved and looked the more threatening. Benza had a shot cleared by the goalkeeper in a frantic end to the match where both teams created chances, but failed to convert.
Herentals: S Gondo, B Majarira, C Mavhurume, B Maunganidze (M Bingala, 53′), W Chimbetu, R Hachiro (W Kapumha, 87′), G Chinobva, P Chota, T Benza (J Mutudza, 56′), I Benza, B Majarira
TelOne: W Huni, M Chigumire, T Nyabinde, I Zambezi, F Bushiri, F Nkala, J Jam, E Zinyama, D Mangesi (M Moyo, 75′), E Mandiranga (B Sibanda, 75′), M Ponyera (T Sibanda, 75′)