Triangle coach, Taurai Mangwiro condemned the heavy police presence at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday, which he partially blamed for his team’s loss to Highlanders in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS . . . . . . (2) 2
TRIANGLE . . . . . . . .(0) 0
After Highlanders’ had two of their matches against Dynamos and FC Platinum, abandoned due to crowd trouble, the home side increased its security and police details in an attempt to curb hooliganism.
However, Mangwiro felt the heavy police presence could have intimidated his players and the match officials.
The Triangle coach said the referee, Happy Mangena, might have failed to give his side a decision early in the second-half when Highlanders’ substitute, King Nadolo appeared to have handled inside the penalty box for fear that riots might break out.
The centreman awarded a free kick outside the box instead.
Mangwiro was, however, quick to acknowledge that the opposition was clinical and deserved the three points after goals from Prince Dube in the ninth minute and a header by Roderick Mutuma at the stroke of halftime, his first for Bosso at Barbourfields.
“Congratulations to Highlanders, they grabbed the opportunities that came their way and punished us. But I also have some reservations as far as the atmosphere itself is concerned because of the heavy presence of the police. I don’t think football needs this. When the players see such kind of scenario, what is it? Are we here for sport or we are here for war? A big decision in the second half, had we been given that decision perhaps things could have gone our way. But somehow because the referee is trying to control and doesn’t want the fans to be riotous, he doesn’t give a decision. I don’t want to take anything away from Highlanders, we were careless in the manner, which we defended,” he said.
After squandering two clear chances, Mutuma finally got it right with a header on the stroke of half time off a cross from the right by Bukhosi Ncube to beat the visitors’ goalkeeper Ronald Mudimu.
Dube had given Highlanders the lead with a brilliant left footer from inside the penalty box in the ninth minute after he was sent through by Rahman Kutsanzira, to net his fifth goal of the season in 12 matches.
Mutuma was delighted to score his first goal in front of the home crowd, which has somehow embraced him despite joining from their biggest rivals, Dynamos. He is a darling to the Bosso fans.
“I am happy to finally score at home. The fans have been eagerly waiting for this moment. I missed some chances, but that is football you can’t score all the chances that come your way. But I am striker, I came here to score and I need to score more goals because the coach has given me a target, which I cannot divulge. It’s my secret with the coach,” he said.
That win takes Highlanders to fifth on the log standings with 20 points, awaiting adjudication of the two abandoned matches against Dynamos and FC Platinum.
Triangle was rather a disjointed outfit in this one, with only veteran midfielder Russell Madamombe working tirelessly in midfield alongside Simba Makoni but their efforts we not complemented by their colleagues.
They remain 12th with 12 points after this latest defeat, which is their fourth of the season.
HIGHLANDERS: A Sibanda, B Ncube, H Moyo, T Ndlovu, P Muduhwa, T Ngulube, P Dube, S Munawa (Y Ebabali, 73′), R Mutuma (G Makaruse, 83′), R Kutsanzira (K Nadolo, 46′), A Gahadzikwa
TRIANGLE: R Mudimu, R Kawondera, R Mhlanga (B Chimwamuchere, 46′), K Chigwida, G Zhokinyi, T Huwa, B Juwayeyi (H Mavundi, 71′), R Madamombe, C Mukanhairi, S Makoni, T Rukandai (D Chirambamuriwo, 81′)