Shingi Matibiri, Sports Reporter
Simba Bhora underlined their credentials as one of the firm favourites for the Axis Super8 Cup after a clinical 4-0 win over Chegutu Pirates in the first quarter final match of the tournament at Wadzanai stadium on Saturday.
The Northern Region Soccer League log leaders were dominant from the onset, controlling the match with Barnabas Mushunje and Dexter Phiri aided by the ever reliable Tinashe Balakasi giving Simba Bhora an edge over Chegutu Pirates also known by their moniker the Ancestors.
The match was not short of drama as both teams played the better part of the encounter with a man short after Constantine Tinapi of Simba Bhora and Pirates’ Lewis Milanzi were sent off just after eight minutes for fighting in an off the ball incident.
Balakasi who leads the scoring charts in the league with 18 goals from 16 matches proved his mettle once again, scoring a brace with Barnabas Mushunje and Ghanaian import Michael Debrah weighing in with a goal each.
“I want to thank my teammates for pushing me hard to continue scoring. My job is to score and I feel happy when I get to score. I just want to continuing scoring in this tournament to help my team win the Axis Super8 Cup,” Balakasi said.
His coach Arthur ‘Tuts’ Tutani was elated with the win giving credit to his players for their splendid performance.
“I’m happy with the performance of the players, they really played according to our game plan. We were knocking the ball around waiting for them to come at us and when they open up, we attack. Credit to the players, and on Tinashe Balakasi I call him our paymaster, he is paying us well with his scoring,” Tutani said.
Chegutu Pirates coach Richard Chunga was disappointed with the defeat blaming it on the wrong approach to the game.
“We went into the game with a wrong attitude and when you do that against an experienced side like Simba Bhora you get punished.
“We wanted to manage the game in the first half and restrict them from scoring but that didn’t happen and we couldn’t recover. The red card also affected our game plan,” Chunga lamented.
Action continues on Sunday with Herentals U20 taking on Black Mambas at Morris Sports Club in the second quarter final.
Next weekend, Golden Eagles play against Ngezi Platinum Stars U19 at Baobab stadium while Commando Bullets and Trojan Stars clash at Trojan Mine stadium.