Zekumbawire's star shone

HARARE - Harare City struggled for form in the early stages of the season and looked well on course for a return to the first division following that poor start.

City players failed to emulate the same form that saw them surrender the title to Dynamos last year right on the last day of the season, resulting in reigning Coach of the Year Bigboy Mawiwi losing his job at the ambitious club.

Francesco Zekumbawire was one player who did not see a lot of action during that bad spell in the opening weeks of the season.

The former Hwange forward was also coming from a poor short stint with champions Dynamos, where he was regarded as a flop after an injury-plagued stay.

The elevation of Masimba Dinyero as the Sunshine Boys’ coach, however, saw a change in fortunes for the big striker.

Zekumbawire began to get more game time under Dinyero and with it his confidence slowly returned.

Since then, the striker with, who has a gentle touch for a big man, has been one of the standout players behind City’s steady recovery in the Premiership as they now occupying eighth place on the log table. 

On Sunday, Zekumbawire showed his predatory instincts scoring one and setting up the other as the Sunshine Boys thumped Highlanders 3-0 to earn a place in the Chibuku Super Cup final.

William Manondo and Martin Vengesai scored the other goals for City but it was Zekumbawira, who kept the Bosso defence busy the whole afternoon.

The striker held up possession well for his midfielders as the Bosso defenders failed to deal with his big frame.

His goal on the stroke of halftime was just a beauty. Zekumbawire picked up possession on te edge of the box before unleashing a curing shot that went in off the post giving Bosso keeper Ariel Sibanda no chance.

The assist for Manondo’s goal was equally impressive. Manondo played the ball into Zekumbawire’s feet and the striker held of the challenge from Innocent Mapuranga.

Manondo continued with his run into the box where he met Zekumbawire’s clever reverse pass to score with a low shot.   

Even his coach Dinyero could not hide his admiration for the striker.

“He has done exceptionally well,” Dinyero said after the match. “He is a good ball keeper and has created a lot of scoring chances for his teammates.

“Unfortunately we managed to score three but we could have scored even more. It was a great game for him (Zekumbawire).

“He is one the players we are looking forward to as we try to improve as a team. With a bit of hard work he is primed for greatness.”

Harare City will now meet FC Platinum in the final of the $500 000 after Norman Mapeza’s men beat Black Rhinos in the other semi-final tie.

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