Chapungu midfielder Brighton Mugoni scored the solitary goal that counted for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Select (ZDF) side to beat Malawi Defence Forces (MDF) to the Defence Forces Trophy at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday.
The match was organised as part of the main Defence Forces Day celebrations and was full of entertainment, with both sides showing hunger for goals.
Shepherded by former Black Rhinos midfielder Gift “Guava” Kamuriwo, ZDF had players drawn mostly from the Castle Lager Premier League sides Chapungu and Black Rhinos.
ZDF started brightly, carving out good chances with the visitors being forced to chase the ball most of the time. It was a question of when rather than if they would score. And they did get the goal 17 minutes into the match, Mugoni, profiting from a cross from the right by Ian Nyoni.
Mugoni could have scored a brace, but watched in disbelief after his stunning freekick from outside the penalty area crashed against the upright post.
Black Rhinos midfielder Wonder Kapinda could have added his name on the scoreboard after beating an offside trap, but somehow his effort cannoned off the upright post.
However, MDF, who hardly had a shot on target in the first half, came close early in the second half when Francis Kanzinga broke free, only for his attempt at goal to be thwarted by defender Shadreck Jimu, who rushed to clear the ball out of danger.
Kamuriwo then introduced Chapungu forward Allan Tavarwisa in place of Lot Chiunga. The substitution had an immediate impact, with Tavarwisa terrorising the Malawi defence and coming close with his first shot.
On 61 minutes, veteran forward Philip Marufu delivered a wonderful free-kick into the danger zone, but Nyoni was slow in reaction. It was another missed opportunity.
Malawi also missed a good opportunity moments later, when substitute Mathew Simbeye’s speculative long-range effort drew a fine save from goalkeeper Talbert Shumba.
The visitors also had another opportunity on 76 minutes, but Lloyd Njariwa missed a cross from Clifford Fakizi.
Kamuriwo was naturally pleased with the victory despite having had limited time, to train with the team.
“I am very happy with the victory. We played well despite the fact that we trained for just a day and it is difficult to come up with combinations under those circumstances. The plan was to score an early goal and frustrate them and it worked,” Kamuriwo said.
His counterpart Clemence Mhlombwa said Zimbabwe gave them a nice game. He, however, complained that the Zimbabwean side also had civilian players in it.
“Zimbabwe gave us a nice game. Congratulations to them, but we know they fielded some civilian players. It was not only players from the defence forces, we know it,” he said.
ZDF Select: T Shumba, E Chitauro, F Banda, S Jimu, B Mbavarira, W Kapinda, M Muchingami, P Marufu, I Nyoni, B Mugoni, (52′ V Mhandu, 75′ Mavhuto), L Chunga (58′ A Tavarwisa)
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