Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
Highlanders 3-0 FC Platinum
AN eye-catching performance by newly signed Highlanders’ striker Rodrick Mutuma propelled Bosso into the final of the ZNA Charities Shield following a 3-0 drubbing of FC Platinum in the semi-final yesterday.
Mutuma got a standing ovation from the hard-to-please Bosso fans following his two assists, as he seemed to win over some doubters.
Bosso will face league champions Caps United in the final on March 26.
Mutuma might have fired blanks, but his mazy runs and unselfish passes to his teammates won him adoration even from some critics, who didn’t support his move to Highlanders. The former Dynamos forward played his target man role with aplomb, drawing FC Platinum central defenders and leaving his teammates to exploit the open gaps.
Bosso drew first blood in the 13th minute through a volley by Simon Munawa, who ghosted in from the blind side to connect an Honest Moyo cross from the left following a swift counter-attack, leaving FC Platinum goalie Petros Mhari rooted on his spot.
Moyo’s inviting cross saw the visitors’ defenders all scrambling to deny Mutuma possession leaving Munawa unmarked.
The goal deflated the platinum miners, who had started the more composed side.
The Zvishavane side was again caught on the counter in the 44th minute. Mutuma cleverly set up strike partner Prince Dube, who outpaced the FC Platinum’s central defensive pair of Gift Bello and Kevin Moyo before rounding up Mhari to score.
Mutuma wasn’t done tormenting the visitors’ defenders, as he returned to haunt them in the 62nd minute by breaking loose on the left side to meet a through pass from substitute Brian Banda.
He charged at the FC Platinum goal and with fans expecting him to go for glory, Mutuma laid the ball onto the path of Dube to tap into an empty net.
Simply put, Mutuma paid back Dube’s immaturity with maturity from his previous game antics (the 1-2 loss to Power Dynamos) where the youngster looked selfish by not passing the ball to a better positioned Mutuma.
Coach Erol Akbay withdrew Mutuma in the 83rd minute for Gabriel Nyoni and the fans gave the ex-Dynamos striker a standing ovation as he left the field.
“I’m happy with what I saw from Mutuma today, providing two goals was great. Even the young right-back Bukhosi Ncube played very good football. We played good football as a team, defended well and caught FC Platinum on breaks. We knew that FC Platinum like to press high and we left space upfront which we exploited,” Akbay said.
FC Platinum failed to trouble their opponents, with Highlanders’ goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda’s involvement being to start goal kicks following the visitors’ off target attempts.
Norman Mapeza conceded that Bosso were the better team of the day. “This was a good game and they played better than us. We didn’t defend well,” said Mapeza.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, Bukhosi Ncube, Honest Moyo (Erick Mudzingwa, 80th minute), Peter Muduhwa, Benson Phiri, Tendai Ngulube, Allen Gahadzikwa, Rahman Kutsanzira, Simon Munawa (Brian Banda, 60th minute), Prince Dube, Rodrick Mutuma (Gabriel Nyoni, 83rd minute)
FC Platinum: Petros Mhari, Ian Nekati, William Stima, Kevin Moyo, Gift Bello, Winston Mhango, Nqobizitha Masuku, Bret Amidu (Gerald Takwara, 65th minute), Charles Sibanda (Agrippa Murimba, 65th minute), Ishmael Lawe (Talent Chawapiwa, 46th minute), Gift Mbweti.