2019 was such topsy-turvy for football fanatics as far as the local game is concerned as it came up with major highlights, milestones, new records as well as its fair share of disappointments. The year began on a high note with the Warriors securing their ticket to Egypt for the African Cup of nations after beating Congo Brazzaville by two goals to nil. The double K duo of Khama and Knowledge coming up clutch once again with two well taken goals. However, the celebrations were marred by the death of a fan following a stampede. The victim, Egna Nyamadzawo apparently was trapped after a gate collapsed and was crushed by the scores of people rushing into the stadium.
At the Afcon finals the Warriors disappointed as they only mustered one goal and finished bottom of group A which pitted the host nation Egypt, Uganda and DRC. This was by far the worst performance by a Warriors side at the Africa cup of nations. Injuries as well as off the field problems put a damper to the team’s preparations. As a result, Warriors gaffer at that time Sunday Chidzambwa resigned.
However, on the bright side Marvelous Nakamba sealed an 11 million pound move to Premiere league side Aston Villa from Belgian Side Club Brugge.
The Warriors World cup qualification campaign began with a scare as they were almost eliminated by lowly ranked Somalia however Khama Billiat once again provided saved the Warriors’ blushes with a well taken goal deep into extra time to secure a place in the group stage. The first match against neighbours Botswana, the warriors produced a lacklustre performance with the match ending scoreless. However, against Zambia in the battle of the Zambezi the double K duo produced yet again with Knowledge assisting Khama in 2-1 win against our fiercest rivals. The Warriors were left in limbo as Antipas then decided to quit as the head coach of the Warriors.
This year the CASTLE LAGER PREMIERSHIP treated fans to a pulsating three-way horse race for the title between Chicken Inn, Caps United and FC Platinum. This culminated to a winner takes all match between Caps United and Fc Platinum at the National sports stadium with Platinum winning by a goal to nil and clinching the title. Most football followers felt Caps bottled it after failing to beat the so called small teams like Telone and Yadah at critical points of the season.
Joel Ngodzo won the soccer star of the year after a great season pulling the strings at the heart of the Caps midfield. Special mention to Devon Chafa who has now 7 league titles a new record as the highest number titles by an individual. Clive Augusto set the league ablaze with goals before his transfer mid-season.
The renaissance of Highlanders during the second half of the season under Piet DE Jongh was exceptional as they only lost once and went on to win the Chibuku Super Cup. Unfortunately for Bosso De Jongh is set to join FC Platinum for next season as their new head coach. Rahman Gumbo has been touted as a potential replacement. Moreover, star-player Prince Dube is set to move to China with talks still ongoing.
2019 Zim managers have shone abroad with Kaitano Tembo leading Supersport United to cup glory in the MTN8 as well as former Platinum boss Norman Mapeza who have done a splendid job at steadying the ship at Chippa United. Former Warriors boss Calisto Pasuwa has clinched his second title in Malawi making it his sixth consecutive league triumph in club management.
By Ashley Dube