Gangling forward Ishmael Thindwa floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee on Sunday when he inspired Zimbabwean side Caps United to win the inaugural Zambezi Soccer Challenge Cup after beating Mighty Wanderers 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Thindwa, who was on trials with the Harare-based outfit, struck the priceless goal in the 36th minute when his shot was deflected into the net by a desperate Nomads defender, sending goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa the wrong way in the process.
It was a goal that brought delirium from the sizeable ganyu fans that included Big Bullets chief supporter Isaac Jomo Osman who was clad in Caps’ green and white colours.
And if Caps had doubts about Thindwa’s faculty and play, then he did it to perfection at the weekend as he was also on target the previous afternoon—scoring the opener as Silver Strikers held his prospective new team to a 1-1 draw. Caps went on to win the match 4-3 in post-match penalties.
So, it is the Zimbabwean side that will cart home the K3 million (about $7 500) prize and the Nomads got nothing.
Thindwa could not hide his excitement after the final whistle.
“As a striker, my main task is to score goals and I needed to rise to the occasion and prove my worth to Caps United,” he said.
Sporting a beautiful new set of blue uniform, the Nomads were in control in the early stages. They moved the ball around with remarkable grace and intelligence—nothing was forced, nothing was hurried from a team that appeared to be soaring with confidence—but the currency of football is about scoring goals and not playing to the crowds and surely the Nomads ought to have known that.
They came close a couple of times, in particular with two minutes to recess when Timothy Chitedze’s effort squirmed past ‘keeper Tafadzwa Dube, but hit the post to the relief of the visitors. Stouty striker Innocent Dzimbiri gave out his all by giving Caps defence a torrid time, but sadly, fought a lone battle and in the end, it was not enough. It was never going to be.
Nomads coach Stuart Mbolembole admitted that it would have been a miracle had his team won the tournament because they were not ready.
“I commend the boys for giving out their best under the circumstances and I would say the tournament has given us a chance to prepare for Tuesday’s Super League decider against Silver,” said Mbolembole.