Chigova Stars Again

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar November 21, 2018 21:18

Chigova Stars Again

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By Satish Sekar in Polokwane © Satish Sekar (June 6th 2018)

There are few barriers in African football sturdier than Polokwane’s redoubtable keeper George Chigova. For the second time in this competition Chigova’s penalty saving heroics stole the show. A cagey semi-final between defending champions Zimbabwe (nicknamed the Warriors) and the Crocodiles (Lesotho) ended with neither side capable of finding a winner headed to penalties.

There’d only be one winner although he modestly refused to take credit.

Chigova saved the last three penalties he faced to dump Botswana into the Plate in the quarter-final, and continued where he left off against Lesotho. Hlompo Kalake was the first thwarted by Chigova.
The pressure was piled on as Khama Billiat put the Warriors ahead – a lead they would not surrender. Mafa Moreomoholo could not beat Chigova either, making it a COSAFA Cup record for Chigova of saving five consecutive penalties. Jameson Mukombwe doubled Zimbabwe’s lead.

Masoabi Nkoto stepped up and ended Chigova’s streak of penalty saves at 5. Alec Mudimu made it 3-1, meaning Ntso Jane Thaba had to score to keep Zimbabwe in the competition. He did, but then confusion reigned. The goal was disallowed – unsportsmanlike conduct had a price – the penalty disallowed, and no re-take either.

It was over. Zimbabwe were through to the final against Zambia – a repeat of last year’s. Lesotho and Madagascar would contest the 3rd-4th and after a rest day South Africa would contest the Plate Final against Botswana.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar November 21, 2018 21:18