Home » Sports » Golden Moment… Warriors Trio Strikes It Rich

IT has been a memorable week for Zimbabwe internationals on the professional football scene. On Sunday, it was former Masvingo United left back Costa Nhamoinesu celebrating a championship medal after his club Sparta Prague won the Czech Republic top-flight title. On Tuesday night attention shifted to the Absa Premiership in neighbouring South Africa and after a massive 3-0 win over SuperSport United, it was the turn of the trio of Cuthbert Malajila, Khama Billiat and Esrom Nyandoro to celebrate Mamelodi Sundowns’ golden moment as the Brazilians shook off the challenge of Kaizer Chiefs to secure the league title.

Malajila, Billiat and Nyandoro featured in Sundowns colours as the Brazilians romped to their ninth Premiership title and first in seven years with the former also scoring the third goal in the victory over SuperSport.

Surprise Moriri and Teko Modise gave Sundowns the early second half aantage before Malajila sealed the victory nine minutes from time.

The victory took Sundowns tally to a record unassailable 64 points with a game in hand against Malajila’s former side Maritzburg United on Saturday.

Malajila was the only Zimbabwean to play in the match as he came from the bench in the 61st minute while veteran defensive midfielder Nyandoro sat on the bench as Mosimane achieved one of his biggest successes as a coach by winning the crown for the first time and becomes the first black coach since the launch of the PSL in 1992 to win the title.

Former Zimbabwe skipper Peter Ndlovu, now a team manager at Sundowns, also shared in the glory as Brazilians gaffer Pitso Mosimane also won the first league championship of his coaching career.

Mosimane, who brought in the likes of Billiat and Malajila when he was appointed coach, paid tribute to Ndlovu and the rest of his technical staff whom he said had played a key role in the Brazilians’ triumph.

“We had to make 13 changes and we brought in 13 players. We had to let others go. We needed the changes. I wouldn’t go the way things happened in the past seven years and I had support from the board.

“I am surrounded by the right people. Mike Ntombela has been here. He is a legend and I played with him. Peter Ndlovu has played 15 years in the English Premier League and knows how to do these things. Trott [Moloto] knows the politics in the club.

“You can’t just bring in a new broom to sweep, you need to keep the generals around. Barnes has been here before and won the league. I also needed the support of someone who understands the local league and extensive knowledge and we brought in Manqoba Mnqithi,” said Mosimane.

Yesterday The Herald caught up with Malajila who was naturally pleased to win the championship, his career second but first in a foreign land.

Malajila first tasted what it means to be a league champion when he was part of the Dynamos outfit that won the 2011 Premiership.

But doing it with cash-rich Sundowns also comes with rich pickings amid revelations that the club has resolved that the players and the coaches will share the R10 million prize money.

“I cannot remember the last time I had scored a goal for the club and I was happy that I managed to score in the match and that goal also made a difference,” said Malajila.

The hard-running Warriors forward said he was mentally prepared as he came from the bench, to end his goal drought.

“The good thing was that when I had not been scoring goals, others were scoring and I also contributed to the team. But I just needed to score. So when I got into the game, I knew that I would score.

“I worked hard and I managed to score and that was good,” said Malajila.

Malajila now has six goals for the Brazilians and he rates that all of his league goals were priceless for the team.

“I have six goals now and we still have a game in hand. All my goals have been special to me because they helped the team,” said Malajila.

Now that he has won the South African Premiership, Malajila is still eager for more success and collect more medals with the Warriors and his club.

“It’s good to win the championship but as a player, you would want to get more medals. So I will try to do well for as long as I can so that I win more,” said Malajila.

Malajila also spared a thought for his countrymen – Willard Katsande, Knowledge Musona, Matthew Rusike, Zhaimu Jambo and Kingston Nkata – who gave Sundowns a good run for their money while trying to defend the title for Kaizer Chiefs.

“We have won the championship and it’s great for me and others guys here. I can only say tough luck to the other guys who were fighting for the same accolade. If we had lost, it was going to be tough luck to us,” said Malajila.

While Malajila was the only Zimbabwe to play in the decisive game, seasoned journeyman Nyandoro would be collecting his third championship with Sundowns and the fourth in his career.

After winning the Zimbabwean title with Amazulu in 2003, Nyandoro joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 2004 where he was voted the Rookie of the Year.

A year later Nyandoro won the league title and the Brazilians also retained the title in the 20062007 season.

For Billiat, the league title to be presented on Saturday is the first in his career after he came close to winning one with Ajax Cape Town.

The lively winger has been sidelined by a foot injury but he played a crucial part in Sundowns’ title campaign and is reported to be fit again to play in the last match on Saturday.

Source : The Herald