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    Monday, 3 December 2018

    The road to Chibuku glory


    TRIANGLE-Triangle United started their Chibuku Super Cup challenge against Shabanie Mine at Gibbo when the two sides met in the round of 16 on the 23rd of September. That was their most difficult game in their run and it’s the only game where they failed to score in regulation time.
    The game went straight to a penalty shoot-out after it ended goalless and Triangle had to rely on Ronald Mudimu’s heroics for them to proceed to the quarter finals. The veteran goalkeeper has never lost a game that went to penalties in Triangle colours. In 2014 he helped Triangle win their first ever cup final when Triangle won all their four matches including the final against the mighty Dynamos in the Netone One Wallet Cup.
    It was no different against Shabanie when Mudimu denied Raymond Sibanda and Peter Muzondo from 12 yards as only Nigel Papius scored from the spot for Shabanie, Triangle won the match 4-1 and from there on they believed they could go all the way.
    Their next hurdle was against Nichrut on October 7; on the day Triangle showed that they really mean business, demolishing the hapless Midlands based side 5-1. Captain Ralph Kawondera scored a brace, while Collins Dhuwa, Russel Madamombe and Delic Murimba were also on the score sheet.
    After the Nichrut win, confidence grew in Triangle camp and coach Taurai “Bla Jack” Mangwiro was ready for any of the remaining Harare sides in the semi-finals. Harare City, Caps United and Dynamos were the probable opponents and the odds were favouring Harare sides to win the cup, but Triangle FC had other ideas.
    “To be crowned champions you have to beat the best, we are ready for any of the remaining teams now that we are within two games of winning this knockout cup competition”, said Mangwiro in a post match interview.
    The draw was made and Triangle was pitted against Dynamos away from home as the other two Harare giants Caps and City faced off. Triangle had already beaten Dynamos 3-0 at Gibbo when Dhuwa scored a hat-trick in a league fixture, but the semi-final was a different game altogether as Dynamos was looking at some sort of redemption following a below par season.
    October 28 was the day and the atmosphere at Rufaro was great, the fans turned up in their numbers to witness a great affair between the two sides. Triangle however, controlled all aspects of the game and was by a bigger margin technically better than their opponents.
    Dynamos fans never expected to be dominated by the lowveld based Sugar Sugar Boys and frustration grew and the misbehaving DeMbare fans started throwing missiles at Triangle players mainly targeting goalkeeper Mudimu whom they felt was wasting precious time when they were trailing. Nhamo was also the target and the match was nearly abandoned when an assistant referee was injured by a missile thrown by DeMbare fans. Despite the hostile reception at Rufaro, Triangle still managed to power their way into a date against two-time Chibuku Cup winners, Harare City at Gibbo. Nhamo and Kudzai Chigwida were on target for Triangle while DeMbare captain Marshal Machazane scored Dynamos’ consolation goal.
    November 10 was a historic moment for Gibbo(stadium), as she hosted her first ever cup final, the stadium was filled to capacity, with tickets were sold out and many fans stranded outside the stadium. Popular artist Jar Prayzer was the opening act as he entertained the fans before the big match.
    I would say the final lived to its billing as the two sides played fantastic football and the best team won. Triangle fans, neutrals and even City fans enjoyed and witnessed something sweet hence Triangle motto “Zvadirwa Sugar”.
    Like in other games enroute to the final, Triangle dominated the early stages and scored early through Kawondera’s header. Gibbo was vibrant after the goal and Triangle never stopped attacking. Pheneas Bamusi was the best player all afternoon and gave his former paymaster defence problems.
    City goalkeeper Ryan Harrison kept his side in the game, but slim hopes of forcing another penalty shootout at Gibbo vanished when City were caught unawares by Bamusi’s bursting pace for a solo effort goal which ensured that Triangle were winners and would represent Zimbabwe in the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup.


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