Zpc Kariba . . . . (1)2
Caps United . . .(3)3
AS REFEREE Nomore Musundire blew to end the match, ZPC Kariba players slumped to the turf for a while before trudging from the field faces crumbled with frustration.
They cracked under the weight of expectation at Gwanzura Stadium yesterday as they fell to Caps United in a Castle Lager Premier League title decider to surrender the championship on the last day.
It was a painful end to a season that had looked so promising. It was a question of so near yet so far for Saul Chaminuka and his men despite the backing of a predominantly Caps United crowd which cheered every good move they made while booing their own team when they scored.
Chaminuka, who went into the match leading Dynamos with two points, needed just a draw to sew up his maiden championship, but Caps United, as they have so often done- threw a spanner in the works to deny them the title after Dynamos overcame How Mine 2-0 to lift the championship for the fourth successive season.
But ZPC Kariba were the masters of their own downfall as their defensive frailties were exposed on several occasions and that there were three goals in a space of five minutes summed it all up.
Even soccer star of the year favourite Dennis Dauda, appeared off colour and allowed opponents too much space to manoeuvre.
First half goals from skipper Tapiwa Khumbuyani in the 10th minute, Honey Chimutimunzeve (14 minutes) and Ishmael Thindwa (46th minute) were all Caps United needed to seal a third-place finish after ending the campaign on 53 points.
Limited Chikafa and Moses Makanje scored for ZPC Kariba.
Chaminuka looked dejected and downcast during a post-match interview.
“We defended badly. In the first goal defenders went to sleep and someone headed the ball in. Our defenders were supposed to attack, but they gave them too much space.
I don’t think they were complacent, but it is the weight of expectation that was on them. We were under pressure more than them. Caps were the more comfortable team,” he said.
“They don’t play like this, I think you agree with me. They had nothing to play for and were very comfortable. Of all the games we have played this season, none of them had pressure of this magnitude. But I am proud of my players’ performance. I can’t ask for more.
“Imagine playing 30 games away. We were always travelling and if we had been playing at our own stadium we could have won this championship with five games to spare. We have learnt a lot and next season we are going to relaunch the championship bid,” Chaminuka added.
His opposite number Mike Madzivanyika who stood in for head coach Taurai Mangwiro who is attending a Fifa instructor’s course in Cameroon, was happy with the victory and dismissed suggestions they had nothing to play for.
“I told you before we wanted to finish in third place. I don’t know why people think we had nothing to play for. We knew there was danger coming if FC Platinum won and we lost. We have achieved our objective of a third-place finish. That’s all we wanted,” Madzivanyika said.
The Caps United assistant coach however, declined to comment on the behaviour of his team’s supporters.
The Caps United fans sang and danced cheering ZPC Kariba while jeering their own team when they were on the offensive. They even celebrated after ZPC Kariba scored the two goals.
They didn’t give up in cheering them until the last minute. However, they at times took matters in their own hands and in one such incident they hurled missiles targeting their players after Khumbuyani had a goal bound shot cleared from the goalline by Peter Muzondo.