HARARE - Harare City coach Taurai Mangwiro remains optimistic his side can overturn Zanaco’s 2-1 lead in their African Confederation Cup second-round clash in Zambia.
The Sunshine Boys played second fiddle to the Zambians at Rufaro Stadium on Saturday as they were outclassed in the first leg.
Zanaco opened the scoring 10 minutes before the break through Aubrey Funga before Rodrick Kabwe made it 2-0 with a well-taken free kick seven minutes from full time.
City gave themselves something to fight for in the second leg when Ronald Ruzvidzo scored a consolation late in added time.
“We hadn’t seen Zanaco play but now we know how they play and we are going to plan accordingly in the second leg. This is football; they managed to score two goals here and we can also score two goals there. Nothing is impossible,” Mangwiro said.
Against Zanaco, the Sunshine Boys were poor in all departments with their star signings Ronald Chitiyo and Raphael Manuvire failing to join forces against the foe.
The centre back pairing of captain Themba Ndlovu and Raymond Uchena was always at sea leaving lots of space for the Zanaco forwards to exploit.
The wingbacks Arnold Chivheya and Munyaradzi Diro-Nyenye were moribund and rarely ventured into the attacking third leaving lone striker Kudakwashe Kumwala without any service.
Despite not getting any supply, most fans booed Kumwala’s every touch before he was eventually replaced by Honey Chimutimunzeve shortly after the break.
Mangwiro’s persistence with Kumwala, however, had proved to be a worthy tactical decision as the former Hartley Academy forward held up possession well something which Chimutimunzeve struggled to do after he came on.
Chimutimunzeve addded little to the City attack and this stifled the Sunshine Boys’ attack as Zanaco easily retained possession.
Even the tactical switches at halftime which saw midfielder William Manondo coming in for the ineffective Chivheya with Farai Madhanaga dropping to left back failed to change the complexion of the game.
The visitors quickly introduced veterans Isaac Chansa and Boyd Musonda to bolster their midfield in order to protect their lead.
Harare City never really threatened Racha Kola’s goal in the second period and were lucky to get a consolation right at the death.
Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba rued conceding a late consolation but is pretty confident they will finish off the job in their own backyard this weekend.
“We have a lot of work to do ahead of the second leg. We want to finish them off in Lusaka with another polished display. We are going to prepare harder for this match,” Numba said.