“It was a fantastic day of football” – Highlanders coach praises Independence Cup organisers

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“It was a fantastic day of football” – Highlanders coach praises Gvt, PSL & ZIFA

Highlanders coach Baltemar Brito has praised organisers of the 2023 Independence Cup match between Highlanders and Dynamos  played in Mt Darwin on 18 April, describing the event as a ‘fantastic day of football in Zimbabwe’.

The traditional giants of Zimbabwean football, for the first time ever, played at a venue that is not in Harare or Bulawayo, on a newly constructed Mt Darwin High School pitch. 

Highlanders players warming up for the Independence Cup match

“I want to give a trophy to the government [of Zimbabwe], to ZIFA, to PSL, for the good organisation they provided on that day to us, to Dynamos, to the rural people and rural areas that sometimes don’t get the opportunity like the guys in big cities to watch this kind of games.

So, everyone should be happy of this day. Everyone is congratulated for what they did for providing a fantastic day of football in Zimbabwe”

There were mixed feelings among football stakeholders when pictures of the setting of the titanic Independence Cup match circulated on social media.

Dynamos player Emmanuel Jalai about to take a throw in during the Independence Cup

While some were charmed by the idea of ‘taking football to the people’, others expressed concerns about the safety of players due to the ‘poor’ quality of the pitch and supporters who were within touching distance on the touchline.

The rural-like setting became the ground on which the Brazilian born Portuguese coach won his first trophy as the coach of Highlanders. 

Highlanders CEO and players with the Independence trophy

Despite playing for over 68 minutes a man down after the dismissal of Andrew Mbeba in the 31st minute, Highlanders won the match 5-3 on penalties after forcing a goalless draw in regulation time.

“I have a good feeling about winning the first trophy in Zimbabwe because winning a trophy always gives you a good feeling,” Brito said.

Just four days after lifting the Independence trophy, Highlanders beat Yadah 2-0 at the National Sports Stadium in a league match.

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