By Jefferson Ndhlovu,
Zimbabwe national team had an almost flawless 90 minutes of football at the National Sports Stadium. Beating the Lone Stars aka Liberia 3nil.
Liberia on one end looked like a team that came to fight for draw contrary to the declaration by their coach.
The last time Liberia were visitors on the same stadium, they lost by an identical score line, except this time around one person scored all three past their goalkeeper.
Norman Mapeza in the hope of reechoing his words that he is his own man. Made an array almost forgotten players on the Zimbabwe scene shine on the afternoon. Amongst the many of those was Thabani Kamusoko who is based in Tanzania.
On the 8th minute Kamusoka had a blistering shot at goal from almost 25 yards but the ball was always dodging the sticks. A good effort for the returning Kamusoka who had an excellent 87 minutes of play making his doubtful inclusion in the team sound all too logical.
Belgium based captain Knowledge Musona had his penalty shout overlooked by the Uganda referee in the 17th minute. But the 22nd minute splitting pass from Danny Deco Phiri that found two Liberian defender wanting to play offside poor. Musona received the ball calmly and beating one. Face to face with the poor goal. The Smiling Assasin who has been on for in Belgium was on his way to a hattrick.
Ten minutes later Tendai Ndoro missed what from a spectators point of view was easier to score than to miss. His headed ball missing the far post before the ball went out for a goal kick.
On 40th minute mark Musona was brought down close to the edge of the box. Kamusoko asked for the ball and his freekick was inch perfect. Keeper beaten only to saved by the post.
Arguably the biggest chance for the Lone start came in the 42nd minute, Teenage Hadebe misjudged the ball in box and erred with it. Landing onto the foot of his opponent. But the frightening frame of George Chigova might have played on mind of the striker and he shot wide.
The two teams went into halftime with the hosts leading 1nil.
Liberia’s hopes of coming to game more in the second half, obviously bouyed by containing the marauding Warriors to a 1nil scoreline, were thrown into disarray.
Four munutes after the restart. Kuda Mahachi collected the ball on the far side. Past one defender. The guess is as good as mine of who was lurking in the Liberia box. Musona said thank you and scored for his second on the afternoon. He was on the hattrick.
A double substitution on the 56th minute to improve the team for Liberia was as good as not done.
The second booking of after went the way of Liberia this time around after Marvelous Namkamba was fouled by Newmar. Namkamba himself was on the yellow already for Zimbabwe.
On the hattrick, the Smiling Assisin was spotted running on the far side by Patson Jaure. He swang a cross way past the pitch to meet the on rushing Knowledge Musona who slotted home his hattrick.
He equals the hattrick scored in 2004 by legend Peter Ndlovu in the Cosafa match of 2004 against Swaziland. Before today Zifa banned Nyasha Mushekwi had scored a hattrick in one those those dodge friendly matches in Malaysia.
The three goals Musona scored today breaks the record that Peter Ndlovu held on scoring on his debut as captain. Ndlovu scored two against Burkina Faso. Musona went one more better on his debut as captain.
The 3nil scoreline straight away sends Zimbabwe to the top of table on three points. Better by goal deference from overnight table toppers Democratic Republic of Congo who beat Congo Brazaville 3-1 on Saturday.
Coach Norman Mapeza will be overly excited with his charges. Having included in his team forgotten chaps like Kamusoko, Ovidy Karuru and Devon Chafa.
Chafa for one should be proud of the call up and having a few minutes of running. The player had his international career almost nose dived when he tested positive in random test after match against Egypt. Its great to see the boy come up and get a feel of things.
Zimbabwe and the nation will be excited to have the three points. Extension of gratitude goes to Dr. Philip Chiyangwa and his board for bringing the gate charges down. That helped the 12th player at the NSS.