HARARE – Hat-tricks are hard to come by in Zimbabwe’s Castle Premier Soccer League.
Before last weekend’s action, just two had been scored in the 2012 campaign.
Only Highlanders forward Milton Ncube and former Dynamos star Takesure Chinyama had scored a treble, both coming in the opening weekend of the Premiership.
Strikers have struggled for goals this campaign, with Shabanie Mine’s Nelson Maziwisa the only one with an idea of where the goal is.
However, it all changed on Saturday when Monomotapa met the seemingly unstoppable Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium.
The Bulawayo giants had gone for 23 games without tasting defeat.
They rolled into Harare on Saturday high on confidence and favourites to collect maximum points, having already beaten Monomotapa 3-0 in the reverse fixture back in May.
But Bosso were in for a rude awakening.
The title hopefuls found themselves 2-0 down at halftime with Osborne Mukuradare netting both goals for the 2008 Zimbabwe champions.
Midway in the second half, the 25-year-old completed his hat-trick to condemn Tshilamoya to their first defeat this season.
It was a well-taken treble by Mukuradare. The last two strikes were particularly delightful.
His first was a straightforward header at the back post from a ruthless Russell Madamombe delivery off a setpiece.
The forward then rounded off Bosso goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda after he was set up by the lively Ronald Chitiyo. Mukuradare showed great composure to balance himself before throwing Sibanda off his guard with a lovely shimmy.
For the third, the Bosso keeper was thrown out of the picture by Mukuradare’s clever feign.
Such composure is rarely seen in the domestic league, as players tend to go for power to try and beat goalkeepers. But not Mukuradare.
To prove that hat-tricks are truly hard to come by, after the final whistle the match officials forgot to give Mukuradare the match ball, as per custom.
Monomotapa coach Biggie Zuze praised Mukuradare for his destructive role in Saturday’s match.
“Osborne was not getting game time recently but because of the injuries to Tawanda Nyamandwe that’s when he started to play,” said the former Dynamos midfielder.
“He has been with the team all along and I am happy with the way he has played in the last three or four games.”