Highlanders 1-0 Triangle United
HIGHLANDERS players’ lack of fitness was Thursday rudely exposed by visiting Triangle United despite the home side winning by a solitary strike from leading goal-scorer Charles Sibanda in the 23rd minute.
However, coach Kelvin Kaindu defended his players’ fitness levels and instead blamed the Hartsfield Grounds pitch as the reason why his boys could not click.
“I don’t think it’s anything to do with fitness of the players, the game was just difficult and boring, not that the players got tired,” said Kaindu despite clear signs that most of his players were failing to match Triangle’s fitness levels.
This is despite the fact that Highlanders, for the first time in the club’s history, employs a full time fitness trainer – Majaha Ndlovu.
In fact, some observers are of the opinion that Highlanders’ fitness levels are far worse than when there was no full-time fitness trainer.
But away from the obvious which is being denied by Kaindu, Highlanders were the first to settle and as early as the second minute though the unlucky Honest Moyo who was playing his first match for Bosso since being deregistered mid-season last year.
Moyo brought in a beautiful cross from the left that curled into the box with his teammates, Njabulo Ncube, Charles Sibanda, Pasca Manhanga and man of the moment Felix Chindungwe all charging forward to bury it but without any success.
After that, it was a tale of misses until the ball fell on Chindungwe whose deep volley went over the bar.
In the fifth minute, the enterprising Moyo, who sadly limped off the pitch with a hamstring injury in the 64th minute, making way for Webster Chingodzo, a second half season buy from Tripple B, brought another inviting cross from his left side territory.
The ball eluded the visitors’ goalkeeper Ronald Mudimu but not Njabulo who skilfully brought it back into play and the ball was met by none other than Chindungwe whose shot hit the cross bar. Mudimu was at sea at that time.
The match, still being controlled by the home side save for a few mazy runs by the visitors’ skipper Blessing Chimwamuchere on the left side, developed into a seesaw affair until the 23rd minute when the country’s leading marksman Sibanda struck.Advertisement
Sibanda, who took his tally to 11 goals, received a pass from Manhanga inside the 12 yard box and for a moment almost made a fool of himself by taking too long to go for the kill as he seemed to struggle with his control.
Luckily for him, the visitors’ defenders wanted to play referee as they momentarily stood akimbo anticipating the referee Thembinkosi Sibanda to blow for offside.
However, he didn’t and the dreadlocked Sibanda’s left-footed shot found its way into the canvas.
“The goal was a clear offside and we lost due to poor officiating,” charged the Triangle gaffer Biggie Zuze after the match.
“These referees have been doing that and getting away with it, it was clear that there was a prior plan to do this and even the added time was just too little, I mean a minute in such a match when we had so many injuries.”
A relieved Kaindu conceded that his boys did not play their usual game but still managed to bag the three points.
“We managed to get a chance and score then hung on. It was a difficult game though,” said Kaindu whose team shot to second on the tables, a point behind Dynamos.
Zuze, despite his outburst due to poor officiating, said they had a better show in the second half but were unlucky not to find the target.
“We knew it would be difficult to come here and get maximum points,” he said.