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FOR 100 minutes they looked down and out and, one minute later, their fate would be sealed and a brave, if not stylish quest, to win the Independence Cup, would come just short.

Or so it seemed.

That is until football threw one of its greatest father-and-son bailout tales and turned the Independence Cup final on its head.

Teenage midfielder Wisdom Mutasa didn’t only win the penalty that gave FC Platinum a life, to enable Qadr Amini to bury home the equaliser with the very last kick of the game, but he also probably saved his father Lloyd’s job.

And, to complete a remarkable day for Wisdom, under the lights of the National Sports Stadium, the young midfielder held his nerve to stroke him the winning penalty and give his father, understandably overcome with emotion, his first major piece of silverware since his arrival in Zvishavane.

Mutasa has some unfinished business against Dynamos, the team that provided him with a platform to express his talent and transform himself into a genuine football star, but then dumped him midstream, three years ago, after his return as a coach didn’t yield the immediate results that the Glamour Boys leadership, and fans, demanded.

He will always argue that, given more time, he could have imposed himself and his mission, which had flown into turbulence, would have produced a team not only good enough to win the championship but also do it in a stylish manner.

He will always have those who back his claims because, on the occasion that his Glamour Boys went into overdrive, parading their full repertoire of skills, swift movement and style, as was the case that day in their Champions League show against MC Alger at Rufaro which they won 4-1, they didn’t only win a football match but did it playing with a swagger that bordered on arrogance and creating memories that will last a life-time.

That Callisto Pasuwa, who replaced him at DeMbare did not only win the championship that season but turned his team into serial winners of the premier prize on the domestic scene it has become something of a habit for them to be champions with three titles on the trot, provided the substance to back the decisions of the leaders, who made the changes, and the fans who clamoured for them.

There is no substitute for results in football and while style charms the hearts and delights the eyes, it’s the victory that matters, regardless of how it was achieved and Pasuwa’s return, in terms of the major trophies in the last three years, has been phenomenal.

But he has had to live with the baggage that he inherited a team that had been built by Mutasa and Cuthbert Malajila’s arrival, in 2011, was a game-changer that could have worked even for the latter had he stayed longer as coach of DeMbare.

Mutasa prides himself in having never lost to Dynamos, in his coaching career, and it’s a theme he was happy to place a lot of emphasis on this week in the countdown to his latest meeting with the Glamour Boys in a winner-take-all Independence Trophy final.

His employers’ big money had helped him take away Gift Bello from Dynamos during the off-season and if Devon Chafa was one of those players who can easily be wooed by money, he would also have returned from his six-month ban, for using a banned substance, in the colours of FC Platinum after a US$20 000 signing-on fee was put on his table.

Njabulo “JB” Ncube could not resist the big bucks, and left his beloved Bosso even though he heart remained in Bulawayo, Stephen Sibanda said goodbye to Mutare, where he had become a cult-hero thanks to his goals for Buffaloes and Tarisai Rukanda crossed the neighbourhoods to move from Shabanie to FC Platinum.

They were not the only ones.

A number of promising teenagers, including Water Musona and Wisdom Mutasa, also arrived at FC Platinum during the off-season.

But the initial results were not encouraging — they needed a goal in the final minute of their first league match against Chiredzi FC, who played for a big chunk of the game one man down, just to get a point in the Lowveld.

Then, after taking a 2-0 lead at home on a rain-drenched afternoon at Mandava, plucky Hwange stormed back and won the game 3-2 with Alec Marime, a man who was off-loaded by FC Platinum as excess baggage, returning to haunt them by scoring the winner with the last kick of the game.

Yesterday, the last kick of the game was decisive for Mutasa but, unlike at Mandava, this was a tale with a happy ending.

On a day Mutasa needed something special, to cool down the rising concerns at a club with a record of firing coaches who don’t rise to expectations, he got it in the 100th minute of from a young man who carried his name and, like him back in the days when he was a special footballer, is a midfielder who likes to attack the penalty area.

He said he told his players to believe that all was not lost, even in the gloom of the twilight of that game, and they answered all his prayers when Wisdom escaped down the channel, inside the area, and came down under the challenge.

The referee pointed to the spot, to the anger of the DeMbare players who questioned whether enough contact had been made and argued that the young midfielder had gone down easily looking for a referee whose instincts would be guided by the need to try and extend this contest into the drama of the penalty shootout.

Amini, a specialist from the spot who had buried another penalty against Hwange, made no mistake with a perfect spot-kick, something quite remarkable under all that pressure, especially for a player who spent virtually the whole of last season cursing fate as injuries conspired to keep him on the sidelines.

For the second time, in six days, George Chigova had conceded a last-gasp goal at the giant stadium, and for the third straight game, none of the DeMbare forwards had found the target.

There was an own goal by How Mine at Barbourfields, which won Dynamos the game, there was none against ZPC Kariba and yesterday a defender, Thomas Magorimbo, was on target.

After marking their return to the giant stadium with a 3-0 win over hopeless Botswana side Mochudi Confused Chiefs, Dynamos have now failed to win at the place they now call home as they drew 0-0 against AS Vita, lost 0-1 to ZPC Kariba and drew 1-1 with FC Platinum before losing on penalties.

At the end of a remarkable game, in which Amini then missed from the spot before three Dynamos players all failed to convert from the spot to leave the Glamour Boys as one of those few teams that lost a penalty shootout by a scoreline that includes a zero, it was Mutasa who was smiling. It’s now 42 years since Paul Simon released his hit song, Mother and Child Reunion, inspired by the singer’s grief after the death of the family dog, and it reached number five in the UK and Australia, number four in Canada and Australia and number one in South Africa.

Someone, maybe Jah Prayzah, could write a song about Father and Son Reunion, inspired by the events at the National Sports Stadium yesterday where Lloyd combined with Wisdom for a remarkable success story, and it could reach number one in Zvishavane.

Source : The Herald

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