Civil Service United (Civo) ended their five-year cup drought after defeating cup specialists Mighty Be-Forward Wanderers 1-0 in the Standard Bank Knock-Out Cup final match played before a huge crowd at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe Sunday, November 1, 2015
Stepping onto the turf as underdogs, owing to Wanderers’ impeccable cup record, the civil servants from Capital Hill defied all the odds, restricting the Nomads to a goal-less first half.
The Nomads had the better of their opponents in the first half, in which they enjoyed more possession and won free kicks in dangerous positions but they lacked the killer instinct.
Sensing early danger, Civo coach Oscar Kaunda pushed in experienced Gerald Nkungula for struggling Thoko Harrison.
Kaunda was forced to make another substitution in the second half, following an injury to Isaac Msiska. Richard Chande came in place of the injured Msiska. Victor Mpinganjira, who was loaned to Civo from Wanderers was also replaced by Chifundo Thawiha.
As the second half progressed, it became clear that most Wanderers players were struggling with the pace of the game.
The Nomads’ bench was, however, slow in acting. Alfred Manyozo Junior, Mike Kaziputa, Jabulani Linje and Muhamad Sulumba were some of the players that were struggling to contain the servants’ pressure but the Wanderers’ bench rested Kondwani Kumwenda for Victor Nyirenda.
Linje was later taken out for Sparrow Msowoya but the Nomads’ fate was about to be decided. With only two minutes remaining on the clock, Civo’s marksman Nelson Kangunje capitalised on a lapse in Wanderers’ defence to beat goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa from close range after receiving a pass from Raphael Phiri.
In a last gasp effort, the Nomads pulled out Sulumba for Luka Milanzi but the damage had already occurred. It was time to crown Civo 2015 Standard Bank Knock-Out Cup champions after a five-year cup drought in the servants’ camp.
The last time Civo won a Silver-wear was in 2010 when they defeated their city rivals Silver Strikers 1-0 in the Presidential Cup final at the same venue.
Coach Oscar Kaunda was on cloud nine after the whistle.
“I am a very happy man and I thank God for what has happened. We had problems in the first half and I told the boys at half time to utilise any opportunity we were going to get in the second half.
“We have been failing to win this cup because of penalty shoot-outs and I told the boys to bury the game in 90 minutes,” said Kaunda.
His counterpart Elia Kananji conceded defeat, blaming his own charges of lacking commitment.
“I accept the defeat. Most of our boys were not committed to the cause and we failed to adjust when Civo stepped up their tempo in the second half,” said Kananji, who was eyeing a double after winning the Carlsberg Cup a couple of months ago.
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