If Tafic fans were hoping for a miracle to save their season, they might well claim to have God on their side after securing their first win in eight games last Saturday.
To say that Tafic were lucky to come away with all three points in a nail biting 2-1 victory, would be to acknowledge that Satmos hit the post, missed open goals, had a player sent off, and goalkeeper AbdenicoMorapediput in another man of the match performance to deny the visitors a host of scoring opportunities.
For their part Tafic’s first goal was from a goalmouth scramble, KaboOgolotsebundling into the net from close range, and the second from a last gasp penalty for a handball (ball to hand) that the linesman gave, and most could not bear to watch as ChadzaPharo stepped up to thankfully blast the ball into the net two minutes from time.
Even then in time added Satmos still managed to miss an open goal, ballooning the ball over the bar when it would have been easier to score.
But none of that will matter to the faithful few die-hard Tafic support amongst the 334 paying customers who made it to the game and still believe the team can avoid relegation.
And to their credit Tafic did play some neat football, stringing together a series of passes and looking more composed and confident on the ball than they had when playing the kind of kick and rush football that had seen them lose their last five games.
Their new Zimbabwean signing TendaiNyamadzawo at least had some shots at goal and might have scored as early as the first minute but skewed his shot wide. Holiness Mlilo too had enough scoring chances to have avoided the nail biting tension of the final minutes.
But they did manage to score as many goals in one game as they have done in their last seven. Added to that their defenceshut out the league’s leading scorer Patrick Kaunda, who had several chances but was denied by some brave goalkeeping and the ping of ball against metal when his shot hit the crossbar in a tense goalless first half.
When Satmos did level the scores through McginiSibanda’s well struck, wind assisted shot that curled into net in the 65thminute,many amongst the home support would have had a sense of ‘here we go again.’
Statistics will show that the Tafic keeper has conceded a first goal at exactly the same time in their last three games, leading to speculation that muti rather than coincidence may have been at work. But this time around they did not go on to concede another and now the belief is that the spell has been broken and Machimenyenga are on course for a miracle escape.
Tafic Coach Darlington Dodo was more down to earth in his assessment of the game, saying he was impressed and encouraged by the team’s improved performance.
“The boys followed the game plan and it paid results. I did not want to approach this game based on names, which is why I introduced new faces and it has worked for us.”
For his part Satmos mentor Kgosietsile Jacob believed they gave Tafic three points on a silver plate. He said besides the poor standard of refereeing his boys did not perform to the standard that has seen them rise to seventh in the league.
“We had everything to win this game. We created lots of chances and should have buried Tafic in the first half. After we equalized we were in control of he game until they were awarded a penalty and that changed the game plan as Taficclung onto their lead.”
To add to their sense of injustice Satmos had keeper Tshelametsi red carded after the final whistle, apparently for abusive language.
For Tafic though victory was sweet as after this weekend’s break for the Mascom Top 8 final, Machimenyenga will fancy their chances againstEcco City and Orapa in Francistown before facing the top four clubs in consecutive games.
Miracles don’t come easy.