Citizens frustrate ’Landers
Citizens..........................................(0)0 Highlanders................................. (0)0
SOCCER - Mbabane Highlanders goalless draw at Somhlolo National Stadium against a gallant Mbabane Citizens can be described or presumably can be a result of three things.
It can be that Wednesday night’s emphatic 2-1 win over Green Mamba, which handed the Correctional Services side their first defeat of the MTN League campaign took the energy out of them or because Highlanders stars all of a sudden found themselves world beaters and did not see the need to engage the second gear against a struggling Citizens side or Citizens came to this match with a perfect plan that was well executed.
Against Green Mamba on Wednesday, Highlanders fought bravely for 92 minutes and for once this season, they showed hunger and determination, par excellence. For once they lived to their pre-season league title favourites tag but yesterday they were a shadow of that.
One shot on target for the whole duration of the game is not enough to win any team a game, not even the best and clinical teams of this world. S outh Afri c a n s t r i ker Thabiso Mokenkoane who was quiet by his standards pulled the ball back on the by-line with Mlamuli ‘Mlaba’ Nkambule meeting it with the inside of his boot in an attempt that unfortunately bounced off the cross bar with Sandile ‘Onyango’ Dlamini at the Citizens sticks well beaten after 73 minutes. That was the closest Highlanders were to goal.
Coach Saul Chamunika’s plans were tattered as early as the 22nd minute. Livewire Sabelo ‘Sawa’ Gamedze was forced off with what looked like a strained muscle and the best Highlanders player currently was replaced by Sidumo Shongwe to give Sihlangu coach Anthony Mdluli headache ahead of the squad camp that begins tonight.
Earlier on, Highlanders goalkeeper Khanyakwezwe Shabalala had to push over the bar for a fruitless corner by Ernest Afful while on the opposite end Mokenkoane could only find the side net after expertly sending a dummy to Dan Shabangu.
Citizens should have stolen this one. Seven minutes after resumption, Craig Abrahams who was lurking at the back post unmarked from a Mancoba Vila kati cross on the right delightfully shot narrow ly wide of Khanyakwezwe’s far post.
At the end of the day, spoils were shared and it was a tale of two cities in the literal sense.
Highlanders’ fans were angry, shouting all unprintable expletives towards their players and match officials while Citizens boss Bheki ‘Rubber’ Simelane joined his players on the field to celebrate the point.
Citizens : Sandi le ,Saco lo , Ndlangamandla, Dan, Sizwe, Lungelo (Mlotsa), Ayanda, Andile, Abrahams, Afful (Samkeliso), Mancoba
Highlanders: Khanyakwezwe, Peter, Sibonelo, Vusi, Jimoh, ‘Mlaba’, ‘Chocco’ (Sithole), Zungu, Thabiso, Ndaba (‘Nkola’), ‘Sawa’ (Sidumo)