From villain to hero

BULAWAYO - Veteran defender Herbert Dick played a true captain’s role when he led How Mine from a goal down to register a 2-1 upset over city rivals Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.

The How Mine skipper could have easily been the villain had the gold miners lost the game after scoring past his own goalkeeper Pedzisai Gumiremhete in the first quarter of the match, but he went on to score at the other end as well to bring his side back into the game.

Dick put the ball past Gumiremhete after being thrown off focus by a Beaven Chikaka attempted header. Chikaka was trying to connect a Peter Moyo cross, and the ball bounced on the defender’s midriff before going into the net.

Scoring past your own keeper can take the stuffing out of some players but the former AmaZulu, Monomotapa and Highlanders stopper proved to be made of sterner stuff and duly made amends with a headed equaliser on the stroke of halftime.

A corner kick taken by the diminutive Timothy January found the bald-headed defender lurking on the blind side and his powerful header flew past a bemused Munyaradzi Diya in the Highlanders goal.

Arguments may arise that the Bosso shot stopper should have cut the cross but they will not take away the fact that Dick showed enough determination to draw his side level after his earlier mistake.

That goal blew wind into the aging player’s sails and he went on to put up a top drawer defensive performance in the heart of the How Mine defence.

The introduction of Njabulo Ncube soon after half-time raised Highlanders fans’ hopes that their strike force would run roughshod on the aging How Mine defence, but Dick stood resolute besides his fellow central defender and former Bosso skipper Gilbert Banda.

And at some point fans could be heard remarking that Ncube was afraid of taking on Dick and Banda, which is why he was straying to the left flank where there was Brighton Dube.

The hopes of Highlanders fans must have gone up when Dick was injured while tracking Highlanders substitute Ozias Zibande in the last quarter of the match.

Zibande’s change of direction had seen the How Mine defence pillar injuring his problematic knee when he tried to chase the Bosso striker and he had to be attended to on the sidelines.

The obvious replacement for Dick had he failed to continue would have been the inexperienced Nelson Tachi and this would have provided Highlanders with an opening.

So palpable was the disappointment in the expressions of the Bosso followers when the How Mine captain limped back into the pitch to continue with the game and eventually led his side to a memorable victory over their more illustrious opponents.

The much travelled defender proved to all and sundry that there is still life in his old legs last Sunday and deserves to be our Star of the Week. - Sakheleni Nxumalo

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