Leop­ards face tricky Mpopoma as sec­ond half starts

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo Se­nior Sports Re­porter

IMINYELA-BASED Zifa Bu­l­awayo Metropoli­tan Prov­ince Di­vi­sion Two Soc­cer League lead­ers Zim Leop­ards be­gin life af­ter the league’s top marks­man Ti­nashe Makanda joined How Mine, when they face tricky Mpopoma Pi­rates in the first match of the sec­ond half of the sea­son.

Makanda’s po­tency at goal saw him hit­ting 15 goals from 15 matches for Zim Leop­ards. He made a topflight de­but on Thurs­day when the gold min­ers held Dy­namos to a 0-0 draw in Harare.

Zim Leop­ards reached the half mark with­out a loss and have set their sights on play­ing in the South­ern Re­gion Di­vi­sion One Soc­cer League next sea­son.

The top two teams at the end of the sea­son will gain au­to­matic promotion into the South­ern Re­gion Soc­cer League.

Zim Leop­ards are on 31 points, two ahead of sec­ond placed Chi­wororo and their man­ager Leonard Sibanda be­lieves the club which was formed in 2007 is ready to go a step fur­ther and com­pete in the first di­vi­sion.

“We be­lieve we’ve done well in the past seven years pro­duc­ing a num­ber of play­ers that are in the Premier­ship right now and this is the time for us to go for the cham­pi­onship.

“We’ve had a good start this sea­son and go­ing for 15 games with­out los­ing a match speak vol­umes about the cal­i­bre of our squad. We know the sec­ond half will be tough but we’re ready for the chal­lenge. Our top striker Makanda is now at How Mine and we wish him well with the hope that his move will in­spire other guys to work harder,” said Sibanda.

Makanda joins some of Zim Leop­ards’ prod­ucts play­ing in the PSL who in­clude Harare City’s cap­tain Francesco Zekum­bawire, High­landers’ right­back Ben­son Phiri and Tsholot­sho FC’s duo of Xolani Lolo Ndlovu and Godfrey Saung­weme.

Some of their play­ers turn­ing out for first di­vi­sion sides are For­tune Nkala who joined Bosso 90 dur­ing the mid­sea­son trans­fer win­dow and de­fend­ers Ben­boy Chinyanga and Nyasha Chi­weshe who are on loan at ZRP Bu­l­awayo.

Zim Leop­ards’ 15-match un­beaten run has seen them reg­is­ter eight wins and seven draws, a record that Sibanda be­lieves they are ca­pa­ble of im­prov­ing in the sec­ond half.

How­ever, the Iminyela club which uses the fa­mous Ndola Sta­dium, should ex­pect stiff cham­pi­onship com­pe­ti­tion from clubs like Chi­wororo of Mpopoma a project bankrolled by former Zimbabwe Saints of­fi­cial Lloyd Mun­hanga as well as Ajax Hot­spurs also from Mpopoma.

LG Vul­tures are also within the cham­pi­onship ma­trix.

Chief Nekatambe

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