HOW MINE’S fairy tale dance with the Orange Caf Confederation Cup fizzled out on Saturday afternoon when they crashed 0-2 to Nigeria’s Bayelsa United FC in the second round second leg of the tournament.
Their biggest mistake was allowing the West Africans to score a goal in the first leg at Barbourfields (BF)Stadium that How Mine won 2-1 last Saturday and failing to score in Sapele Stadium in the return leg. They fell 3-2 on goal aggregate.
The parcelling out of How Mine at this stage brings into question Zimbabwe clubs’ readiness to take part in continental competitions.
Dynamos fell to AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the first round of the Orange Caf Champions League.
Dynamos are the only club in the country to have reached the lucrative stages of these tournaments before, with a number of clubs failing in the preliminary stages, wasting resources which could be channelled to better use locally.
After bowing out of the continental competitions, local clubs have struggled financially in the local league, examples being Hwange and the now relegated Motor Action and Monomotapa.
Mwana Africa, Blackpool, AmaZulu, Highlanders and FC Platinum have not fared any better.
How Mine penned their own piece of history coming from a season’s dance with the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) to bow out of the Confederation Cup in the second round, eyeing the money-spinning group stages.
After the 2-1 win in the first leg last Saturday and holding on to a goalless first half in Nigeria, How Mine allowed Bayelsa to score two goals in the second half.
Jafar Buhari and Azubuike Okechukwu were on target for Bayelsa United.
How Mine were victims of pre-match thuggery as they endured dirty mind games from the Nigerians with their players allegedly assaulted before the start of the second half.
Kudakwashe Musharu, How Mine’s saviour in the first round second leg when they appeared to be going down to St Michel United FC of the Seychelles, could not come to the gold miners’ rescue in Sapele.
Musharu scored six goals in the tournament, notching a brace in the preliminary round first leg in the 4-0 defeat of Chuoni of Zanzibar and finding the net in the 2-1 win away in the second leg.
The former Monomotapa front man nicked another brace when they dispatched St Michel 5-1 at BF in the first round first leg and scored a goal in the second leg when the islanders had led them 3-0 in the first half.
How Mine, with one of the strongest squads, now shift focus to the Castle Lager PSL, which starts next weekend when they take on champions Dynamos in Bulawayo in their first match of the season.