A PICTURE of Eswatini soccer giants Mbabane Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium in Harare has surfaced, triggering memories of their 0-1 Caf Confederations Cup preliminary round first leg defeat to Caps United on the 13th of February 2010.
This became the last time Caps United played a Swazi soccer outfit.
On the day, the visitors starting line-up had a Zimbabwe flavour with former Dynamos goalkeeper Zondai Nyaungwa guarding the goal.
Nyaungwa remains the only Zimbabwe-born goalkeeper to play for two different Eswatini sides that have faced two Zimbabwe teams as in 2012 he also featured for the then Lloyd Mutasa-coached Green Mamba against FC Platinum.
Highlanders counted on the experience of Nyaungwa. He had played for Dynamos FC in the Caf Champions League in 2008 when they reached the semi-finals.
The starting line-up had Mlungisi Ngubane, Eugene Dlamini, Mbaya Katala, Sipho Sibandze, Thulani Sibisi, Vuyani Mazibuko, Msizi Lukhele. Nyaunga, Xolani Sibandze, Banele Dlamini and Mxolisi Dludla and came agonisingly close to stealing a draw from the hosts.
Caps United wasted numerous chances in the match only to be saved by a late hotly contested penalty which Method Mwanjali converted to save Lloyd Chitembwe’s boys the blushes. Mbabane Highlanders were considered continental minnows and Caps United would ask themselves difficult questions over their near defeat by such an outfit and in their own backyard!
“We are a bit disappointed we could not convert the numerous chances we created but we are happy we managed to score,” Caps United team manager Wilson Mutekede told the media after the match.
The second leg played at a packed Somhlolo National Stadium on the 28th of February had it’s fair share of drama with Mbabane
Highlanders winning 1-0 to level the aggregated score at 1-1 and forcing a penalty shoot out.
They lost 7-8 to the Green Machine.
The build-up to match at Somhlolo National Stadium was characterised by drama off the pitch with revelations that Highlanders used juju.
Prior to the match they had been warned to avoid using juju and stick to the power of prayer.
By their standards, Highlanders could not be said to be at their best, even though under the then new coach Happy Simfukwe they were beginning to play and look like a team with purpose. There had been many disruptions in the club, such that several key players had lost form going to the tie. – @NoelMunzabwa