The Jangwani giants’ keeper spoke about how he managed to save the penalty which helped keep the team’s unbeaten run intact
Young Africans (Yanga SC) goalkeeper Metacha Mnata has explained how he managed to save a last-minute penalty against Namungo FC to help his team maintain their unbeaten start to the Mainland Premier League season.
The team’s custodian was the hero on Sunday as he stepped up to save a spot-kick from Bigirimana Blaise, which was awarded after a foul committed by defender Bakari Mwamnyeto to Namungo’s danger man Shiza Kichuya, who was introduced as a second-half substitute.
At the time the penalty was being taken, the score was tied at 1-1, with Yanga taking a deserved lead through Carlos Carlinhos before Blaise levelled the scores, and had he scored from the penalty spot, Namungo could have ended Yanga’s 11-match unbeaten run.
Blaise took the penalty and Mnata dived the right way to punch it back in play and even from the rebound, Blaise’s powerful shot went over the bar, sparking wild celebrations at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium from Yanga fans, who had gone dead silent when the referee had pointed to the spot.
Mnata has now explained his brief chat with head coach Cedric Kaze at the touchline area before the penalty was taken played a key role for him to save it.
“First, let me thank our coach Cedric [Kaze] because he is the one who blessed me with big hopes to save that penalty,” Mnata is quoted by Daily News. “He told me the spot-kick taker [Blaise] usually directs his penalty shots to one direction as such, I should wait until he plays the ball.”
Mnata further says he knew they had a record to protect the reason he tried to wake up Yanga fans, who were already dumbfounded after the penalty was awarded so as to make them believe in football, anything can happen.
“I had to wake them up and give them the lost hope and to the grace of God, I succeeded to save the penalty which reminded me another classical spot-kick save I did in the away reverse match against Botswana’s side Township Rollers,” Mnata continued.
Yanga coach Kaze was, however, not happy with the draw despite his keeper saving the penalty, saying they had squandered the chance of moving top of the 18-team league table.
“In terms of performance from my boys, I have nothing much to say as they did everything possible to grab the victory but unfortunately, it was not materialized,” Kaze explained.
Yanga will next take on Azam FC at Chamazi Complex on Wednesday.