Where are the goals?

HARARE - The lack of goals in Zimbabwean football came to the fore once again during this weekend’s continental inter-club competitions where local teams struggled in front of goal.

First up was CAPS United, who slogged to a 0-0 draw against Lesotho side Lioli FC on Saturday, in the African Champions League preliminary round qualifier in Maseru.

The following day, Zimbabwe’s representatives in the African Confederation Cup Ngezi Platinum Stars played out a 1-1 draw away to Pamplemousses in Mauritius.

Last season, CAPS United forward Leonard Tsipa walked away with the Castle Lager Premiership Golden Boot with a paltry 11 goals after 30 matches.

In the last decade, only Evans Chikwakwai in 2008 (Njube Sundowns), Nyasha Mushekwi, 2009, (CAPS United) and Norman Maroto in 2010, (Gunners) have managed to surpass the 20-goal mark.

Since then, Zimbabwean football has been in serious need of unearthing the next goal poacher with goals seemingly drying up.

Since they were away from home on Saturday, Makepekepe were obviously conservative in their approach with coach Lloyd Chitembwe starting with a lone striker, Dominic Chungwa, upfront.

The Green Machine created decent chances which they should have buried to secure a crucial away goal.

Throughout the continent, there were other 22 Champions League preliminary round first leg matches taking place last weekend.

These games produced a total of 43 goals at an average of 1.95 per game.

Tanzanian champions Young Africans were the biggest winners by dispatching the Comoros side Ngaya Club 5-1 away from home.  

Although they got on the score sheet, Ngezi Platinum needed a set piece to break the deadlock when captain Liberty Chakoroma converted from the spot after Kelvin Bulaji had been fouled inside the box.

The other 19 Confederation Cup preliminary round matches produced a total of 31 goals at a rate of 1.63 per game.

Rwandan side Rayon Sport were the biggest scorers in the competition racing to a 4-0 away win their first leg clash against Wau Salaam FC of South Sudan.

Both Ngezi and CAPS do not have much time to rectify their weaknesses as the second legs are on this weekend in Harare.

Makepekepe must win the match if they are to progress to the final qualifying round of the competition.

After scoring in Mauritius, Ngezi on the other hand can hold out for a 0-0 draw and still qualify for the first round via the away goals’ rule.

Local clubs have found the going tough in these matches over the years and that lack of goals could be one of the reasons Zimbabwean teams fail in continental club competitions.

The last Zimbabwean club to reach the group stages of any Confederation of African Football (Caf) competition was Dynamos in the 2010 Champions League.

The Glamour Boys beat Democratic Republic of Congo side FC Lupopo 2-0 on aggregate after winning both legs 1-0 in the first round.

In the final qualifying round, DeMbare convincingly won the first leg 4-1 against Botswana champions Gaborone United before going on to lose the second leg 1-0.

Since then, local sides have been booted out of the Caf competitions in the qualifying rounds.

Now it is the turn of CAPS United and Ngezi Platinum to break that sequence and hopefully make it into the group stages.

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