SAUL Chaminuka finally breached through to his first SMVAF Ingwenyama Cup quarter-finals stage on his third consecutive attempt after his Mbabane Highlanders outfit marched on with a 2-1 win over Vovovo FC in a rescheduled last 16 tie played at Somhlolo National Stadium on Tuesday night.
Twice the former Warriors had crumbled out at the last 16 stage with his former paymasters Matsapha United in 2016/17 and 2017/18 after being knocked out by Manzini Sundowns and Milling Hotspurs respectively.
In the 2016/17 edition, Chaminuka had opened up with 5-0 win over Luyengo Foxes before a 7th minute Sandumuzi Zwane strike for Manzini Sundowns buried Matsapha United and in the next edition, Milling Hotspurs needed a late strike to infringe the repeat stage exit.
And on Tuesday, staring the jinx, Chaminuka needed an outright win to exorcise the ghost and did just that with a vital win that sailed Gwaza Nkunzi to the tournament’s best eight amid threats of a heavy storm.
As the storm would give in to the match’s 90 plus minutes, a storm of celebration greeted Eswatini’s most popular outfit. The match had initially given way to poor lighting on Saturday necessitating a reschedule.
Also through to the quarter-finals was Julius Chakupewa’s Manzini Sudowns who edged Ubombo Flyers 1-0. There was no winning joy for Tarisai Changara and Dolly Zenzile Mpofu’s Moneni Pirates who lost 0-1 to Matsapha United.
Meanwhile, there was Dumaza Dube on the Malanti Chiefs bench as the Piggs Peak-based outfit dumped Madlenya FC 3-1 in a match played at Killarney Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Last week, co director, Victor Rodriguez had indicated the former Highlanders and Bantu Rovers development coach would be joining Malanti Chiefs as assistant coach to Raymond Dlamini ahead of the weekend’s cup tie.
The Zimbabwe-born coach remained holed in Bulawayo and even reported for duty at a school on the outskirts of the second largest city where he is a physical education teacher.
Efforts to draw a comment from Chiefs officials drew a blank.