By Alvin Madzivanzira
IT was the first time that Shabanie Mine FC met their soccer arch rivals FC Platinum in a cup final.
Being the first time that the two Zvishavane sides were clashing in a cup derby, the match was memorable for the mining town soccer lovers.
Action swung from one end to the other keeping the fans on the edge of their seats for the entire 120 minutes of play. For the penalties, the fans could not help it but watch the lottery standing.
A record crowd was in attendance as more than 15 000 people watched the game. The crowd was the biggest ever seen in meetings of the two.
Traffic congested the roads leading to the stadium and it took one more than 30 minutes to get to the main road from the stadium.
The effect of the derby was also felt by the food vendors whose merchandise was sold out in no time.
Derbies are interesting matches in all soccer leagues.
Talk of the Harare derby between CAPS United and Dynamos, the Soweto derby of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, the Manchester derby pitting Manchester City and United they are all explosive, a must to watch.
Players, officials and supporters will be neighbours and the fact that they know each other on and off the field of play makes encounters more interesting.
The Zvishavane derby was in a class of its own. It lived up to its billing.
From the first blow of the whistle Shabanie Mine displayed immense hunger for goals and Francis Tizayi, FC Platinum goalie was thrown into action 35 seconds into the game.
For the first 15 minutes of play, FC Platinum were on the back foot trying to stop the Shabanie Mine onslaught.
Pervington Zimunya whose lethal free kicks were saved twice was a marvel to watch while Caleb Masocha caused all sorts of problems for the defenders.
Masocha partied on the defenders giving them a torrid time during the entire game.
Not to be outdone were Charles Sibanda and Donald Ngoma.
And Lloyd Mutasa, the FC Platinum coach, in my humble opinion, read the game wrong when he substituted Sibanda. That killed the momentum of the game.
Though goalless in regulation time, the match was competitive and deserved to be a final.
It was an early Christmas present for Luke Masomere and Chinda Boys, as Shabanie Mine are affectionately known in soccer circles, as they pocketed US$120 000.
However, the team is likely to lose some money for the rowdy fans’ behaviour of throwing missiles and pitch invasion.
For Shabanie the fat cheque was a big relief as the team is in the red financially.
Masomere, the self-proclaimed ‘Doctor of Football’, proved by clinching the BancABC Sup8r Cup that his claim is more than bragging.
The Shabanie class of 2013 bridged the long spell of silverware drought.
The last time Shabanie Mine won silverware was in 2001 when the famous team clinched the BP Cup.
Powered by the late Thomas Makwasha, Asani Juma and Francis Chandida the team outwitted fancied Dynamos to bring home the BP Cup.
The Class of 2013 has done it for the ‘Bvaru Bvaru’ supporters by silencing their ‘noisy’ neighbours FC Platinum.
Fans of both teams were elated that BancABC had brought the game to Zvishavane.
“We are happy with the competition and even grateful that Zvishavane has got its first silverware this year. It was a thrilling final and a derby for that matter.
“At least our team won and it’s a big relief as the team had no money,” said Stanford Phiri of Kandodo Township.
Soccer is the major recreational activity in the small mining town.
Shabanie Mine commands thousands of supporters because the team has been in football for a longer time than FC Platinum.
Having saved the team from relegation in the 2011 soccer season and finishing the league in the top eight last year, victory in Sup8r Cup has stamped Masomere as Shabanie Mine’s hero.
Fans have even composed songs for the former Masvingo United gaffer with one going “Masomere simudza ngere ngere tiende…”.
With the BancABC Sup8r Cup now in Zvishavane, in the Shabanie Mine trophy cabinet, another cup is in the offing if the team can repeat its feat.
The Mbada Diamonds Cup gets underway and the asbestos miners have set up another date with Chicken Inn at Mandava Stadium on Saturday.