Caps United edge closer
Caps United 1- 0 Ngezi Platinum Stars CAPS United striker Simba Nhivi says Makepekepe have come a long way and want to avoid stumbling at the last hurdle after he scored the only goal of the match against Ngezi Platinum Stars at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
It kept Harare giants strongly in the hunt for this year’s title ahead of the crucial last round of matches.
Nhivi’s 35th minute strike settled the matters yesterday as the Green Machine edged closer to ending an 11-year championship drought with a crucial win.
Caps United maintained pole position with a twopoint advantage over second placed FC Platinum who kept the pressure when they thrashed Highlanders 3-0 at Mandava to set up an intriguing finish to this year’s marathon.
Now with 60 points in the bag, Caps United travel to Chapungu next week for the decisive fixture while FC Platinum will also be away in Bulawayo to face Tsholotsho in their last match of the season.
Nhivi found himself unmarked inside the box and did well to place the ball beyond national team fringe goalkeeper Nelson Chadya after getting to the end of Ronald Pfumbidzai’s pass.
His efforts earned him the man-of-the-match award that was sponsored by the club’s supporters and he walked away with a hamper.
“It’s not about the individuals, at the end of the day it’s about the team. It’s Caps United who won and not Simba.
“Everyone worked hard for this win. We just need to be more focused and have more desire going into the last match against Chapungu,” said Nhivi.
“We needed these three points. It’s very crucial at this time of the season. As Caps United, we have come very far. We worked hard to be where we are today.
“And to win a match such as this is very motivating. I must say everyone was focused against Ngezi Platinum because we knew we were going to face a team with good quality players. They managed to stretch us to the limit and we want thank God for this win.
“We have worked hard as a team, being led by the experience of people such as Leonard Tsipa. He is a quality striker, the leading goal scorer of the season. It’s something motivating playing side by side with a veteran such as him. We are very motivated.”
Nhivi could have finished with a brace when he found space in the 80th minute but goalkeeper Chadya had his goal covered when he used his leg to stop a low shot after substitute Dominic Chungwa had mistimed a cross by Phineas Bamusi. However, Caps United’s win did not come easy. The Harare giants had to grapple with anxious moments against a well-drilled Ngezi Platinum Stars side which nearly spoiled the afternoon as early as the second minute when Terrence Dzvukamanja weaved his way from the middle and unleashed a rocket that nearly troubled goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda.
The relief on the terraces was clear as the ball crashed against the woodwork with Kelvin Bulaji failing to control his header from the rebound.
Makepekepe had a bigger crowd yesterday as the supporters apparently are beginning to sense victory.
The Premiership newboys had appeals for a penalty turned down after Pfumbidzai appeared to handle inside the box, standing in a crowd of players, but referee Arnold Ncube from Masvingo waved on, leading to animated protests by the visiting players.
Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya and his players acknowledged they lost the match but felt hard done by the decision to deny them a penalty.
“One moment can decide a match and I thought that’s what happened today. A draw could have been a fair result if that decision had gone our way,” said Ndiraya.
“But we had 90 minutes to win the match and we couldn’t do that so I think it’s not good to mourn over one incident.
“We had all the time to play and try and win the game. So I wouldn’t want to mourn over that incident. We just have to move on,” said Ndiraya.