The Confederation of African Football’s leagues has continued to be a stumbling block to Zanzibar representatives as Mafunzo FC conceded 2-0 goals during their first leg match against visiting Muculumano Diportivo from Mozambique played at the Mao Tse Tung Stadium under floodlights last Sunday.
This is the second defeat for the Island’s representatives after Pemba’s Jamhuri FC conceded 3-0 goals in the first leg tie to Zimbabwe’s Hwange FC also played before a galore of home supporters at Gombani Stadium, a day earlier.
Mafunzo threw over board numerous scoring opportunities that came their way despite a huge boost from their supporters who kept cheering throughout the encounter.
The visitors broke stalemate through striker Mauricio Pegwenino after barely twelve minutes into the game when his glancing header sailed into the net past flat footed goalkeeper Suleiman Janabi.
Mafunzo were highly exposed their weaknesses as the visitors increased the tally to two goals nine minutes after the opener through Manuel Mbalango.
Mafunzo defenders were sloppy in taking control of aerial corner balls that produced all the two quick fire goals in a space of nine minutes of the first half.
The visitors’ Mustapha Ismail took all the corners in expert fashion to send shivers into the host team’s goal early on.
Mafunzo coach Hemed Morocco quickly responded by replacing goalkeeper Janabi for Salum Mohammed to stabilize his defence. It was the right decision.
The Zanzibar champions need to overturn the 2-0 defeat into 3-0 goals victory during the return leg match to be played in Maputo in a fortnight.
While the Zanzibar team officials are still searching for funds to meet travel reservations to the sporting destinations in Harare and Maputo, the highest probability prevailing for the teams is elimination.
Few fans turned up to watch the match, including Zanzibar’s Second Vice-President Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi.