Zimbabwean clubs Chicken Inn and Harare City got off to a perfect start in the 2016 Pan African football safari.
It was a weekend of celebration for Chicken Inn and Harare City fans after their teams recorded victories in their first romance with Pan African football.
For Chicken Inn it was a sweet 1-0 victory over glamorous South African club Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of the return leg in two weeks’ time.
The all-important goal for the Gamecocks came from Michelle Katsvairo in the 36th minute.
It was also a sweet return for the Brazilians manager Peter Ndlovu, who started his career at Mzilikazi Primary School and later at Highlanders in Bulawayo before going all the way to play in the Barclays Premiership with Coventry City way back in 1991.
“I am happy to be home where I made my name. It is good for me to come back as a manager of another team. I have fond memories and this makes it even more special,” said Ndlovu.
Although the Gamecocks have a tough assignment in the away game, their coach Joey Antipas thinks the goal scored is good enough for his team to advance to the next round.
Antipas said their target was to come out with a goalless draw against such illustrious opponents and adds that he is proud of his boys for their achievement.
“To tell you the truth, we were going for a nil-nil. We managed to get a 1-0 win against quality opponents like Sundowns. I am chaffed by the win and am proud of the boys,” said Antipas.
Also celebrating were Harare City who took a 3-2 advantage after squandering a 2-0 lead to give Madagascar’s AS Adema a glimmer of hope ahead of the second leg.
The coach of the Harare City club, Taurayi Mangwiro, said they were very careless in their defence to allow the little known Madagascan side to score two goals.
“Having let at halftime, I thought the floodgates would open but that was to be. Poor organization at the back and careless defending costed us. It’s game on,” said Mangwiro.
Harare City had taken a first half 2-0 lead through new boys Ronald Chitiyo and Raphael Manuvire but the visitors clawed back to even the scores before Manuvire gave the Zimbabweans the winner in the 85th minute.
However, Mangwiro said he is happy that they got that winning goal in the dying stages of the match.
The return legs in both the Caf Champions League and the Caf Confederation Cup will be played before the end of this month.