No Bright Finish Against Defending Champs

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar November 5, 2018 12:41

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No Bright Finish Against Defending Champs

By Satish Sekar in Polokwane © Satish Sekar (June 3rd 2018)

Major David Bright saw his young charges come close to upsetting defending champions Zimbabwe. A 1-1 draw was followed by an incredible penalty shootout with a spectacular performance by Zimbabwe’s goalkeeper George Chigova, who plays for local club Polokwane.

Coach Sunday Chidzambwa praised his keeper’s exceptional performance – Chigova saved three of the four penalties he faced. Only Chippa United’s Kabelo Seakanyeng beat him from the spot with the first penalty. Abbas Amidu who plays for El-Entag El-Habry in Egypt equalised. All three Zimbabweans converted their penalties, but before Khama Billiat scored his Chigova’s heroics had denied Tebogo Sosome and Tumisang Orebonye. That meant Thatayaone Kgamanyane had to score, but once again Chigova proved to be a barrier too far.

Zimbabwe advanced to the semi-final, and Botswana would play Eswatini (Swaziland) in the Plate semi-finals.

The match had ended 1-1 after normal time. Evans Rusike, who also plays in South Africa opened the scoring after 38 minutes. Onkabetse Makgantai equalised after an hour. Makgantai plies his trade for Baroka, who also play in Polokwane. They are coached by former Chipolopolo boss Wedson Nyirenda.

Zebras’ keeper Mwampule Masule had to be alert early on to deny Billiat, whose low shot was saved by Masule. He was subsequently beaten by Billiat only to be ruled offside with just over 30 minutes played. Makgantai had an opportunity to give Botswana a surprise lead, but Chigova had other ideas. With just over five minutes of the first half remaining Billiat put Rusike through and the Supersport striker made no mistake – Zimbabwe deserved their lead, although Makgantai had another opportunity, only to be thwarted by Chigova again.

Bright introduced Kgamanyane and Orebonye eafter 53 minutes – the former having a quick impact, as his corner was headed past Chigova by Maktagani. Billiat at least made Masule work, denying the Kaizer Chiefs attacking midfielder. Orebonye found a way past Chigova but also the target. It would prove one of two costly misses.

While praising Chigova, Chidzambwa had no quarrel with the decision not to award him the Man of the Match. It’s hard to see what more Chigova needed to do. He was the match-winner.

After a day’s rest, the COSAFA Plate semi-finals will be played.

South Africa v Namibia

Eswatini v Botswana

The COSAFA Cup semi-finals will take place on June 6th.

Zambia v Madagascar

Lesotho v Botswana

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar November 5, 2018 12:41