BOSSO KEEP TI­TLE HOPES ALIVE High­landers, po­lice com­mend fans

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

HIGH­LANDERS re­vived their slim hopes of a shot at the Cas­tle Lager Premier Soc­cer League cham­pi­onship fol­low­ing a dra­matic and mem­o­rable 2-1 win over old en­emy Dy­namos at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium on Sun­day.

Bosso put on a brave per­for­mance to com­plete a rare league dou­ble, which they last achieved when win­ning the ti­tle in 2006.

High­landers showed char­ac­ter to fight back and claim vic­tory hav­ing trailed for 48 min­utes af­ter Dy­namos shot into the lead through a 28th minute goal by ex-Bosso winger Masimba Mam­bare.

Bosso cen­tral de­fender Tendai Ndlovu can­celled that lead when he rose to head home a well de­liv­ered cor­ner kick by Erick Mudz­ingwa in the 76th minute. The goal gave back Bosso fans their voices and spurred the team to the mag­nif­i­cent win.

Three min­utes later, cen­tral de­fender Peter Muduhwa took mat­ters into his own hands and rode a num­ber of tack­les be­fore cross­ing for sub­sti­tute Ralph Matema to head home.

High­landers’ win all but put to an end Dy­namos’ ti­tle hopes as the Harare Glam­our Boys are in fifth po­si­tion on the league ta­ble with 35 points from 23 games, and trail lead­ers FC Plat­inum by 12 points with just seven matches re­main­ing be­fore the sea­son ends.

“The cham­pi­onship fate is no longer in our hands and be­ing 12 points be­hind the lead­ers is too big a gap. We have to fight so that we end in a re­spectable po­si­tion,” said Lloyd Mu­tasa, the Dy­namos’ coach.

Not even re­fus­ing to use the of­fi­cial en­try into the Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium turf in a sus­pected case of su­per­sti­tion could save Dy­namos.

When the Harare giants dis­em­barked from their team bus at the sta­dium, they re­fused to go into the field via their dress­ing room, and in­stead went through the Wings’ stand close to the Mpilo End.

High­landers’ play­ers were not dis­tracted by Dy­namos’ su­per­sti­tious be­liefs as they gave their all and fought for max­i­mum points.

The vic­tory took Bosso’s points tally to 41, six be­hind FC Plat­inum. Sit­ting third and within ti­tle strik­ing dis­tance, High­landers now need to main­tain con­sis­tency and col­lect as many points as pos­si­ble with the hope that FC Plat­inum and Caps United slip up in the re­main­ing seven matches.

High­landers played as a unit, with Muduhwa the most out­stand­ing player.

The last seven weeks of the cham­pi­onship are likely to be pul­sat­ing, with the top three teams tak­ing the ti­tle fight to the wire.

High­landers coach Erol Ak­bay said: “The HIGH­LANDERS FC and the po­lice have praised foot­ball fans for their ex­em­plary be­hav­iour dur­ing Sun­day’s Cas­tle Lager Premier Soc­cer League match be­tween Bosso and Dy­namos at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium.

The Bu­l­awayo giants won the match 2-1.

High­landers chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ndu­miso Gumede said: “We thank the fans for ex­em­plary be­hav­iour which is the way it should be when­ever one at­tends a foot­ball match. Peo­ple come to the sta­dium for en­ter­tain­ment value and not to set­tle scores. As a club we would like to en­cour­age b ot h cham­pi­onship is still open and what we have to do is con­tinue fight­ing and make sure that we win our games and get as many points as pos­si­ble.”

FC Plat­inum reg­is­tered their first vic­tory in the sec­ond half of the sea­son at the week­end, beat­ing How Mine 1-0 at Man­dava Sta­dium.

Go­ing into the How Mine game and hard-pressed for a win, FC Plat­inum had played three home games in the sec­ond half of the sea­son, which all ended in iden­ti­cal 1-1 draws against Hwange, Mutare City Rovers and Chicken Inn.

Wal­ter Mu­sona scored the soli­tary goal against How sets of fans, High­landers and Dy­namos, to con­tinue with their good be­hav­iour re­gard­less of fu­ture re­sults.” Gumede chal­lenged fans to ef­fect “cit­i­zens’ ar­rest” on pitch in­vaders who he said were cost­ing the club. The sea­soned ad­min­is­tra­tor said they would con­tinue with their an­tih o o l i g a n i s m gospel. “We can’t deal with pitch in­vaders or hooli­gans alone, we need re­spon­si­ble fans to as­sist us so that we save the club from fines,” Gumede said. Po­lice spokesper­son for Bu­l­awayo Prov­ince In­spec­tor Pre­cious Si­mango also com­mended fans. “This week­end’s match proved to be ex­cep­tional in terms of the con­duct of sup­port­ers as peace pre­vailed. T h e Mine and the vic­tory took the plat­inum min­ers’ points tally to 47.

Sec­ond-placed Caps United kept pres­sure on FC Plat­inum by beat­ing cham­pi­ons Chicken Inn 1-0 at the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium cour­tesy of a Leonard Tsipa goal from the penalty spot.

Caps United are just a point be­hind FC Plat­inum and five ahead of High­landers.

On the rel­e­ga­tion side, Tsholot­sho re­mained stuck in 15th place with 19 points de­spite a 1-0 win over Border Strik­ers, while third from the bot­tom Mutare City Rovers took their points tally to 20 af­ter dis­miss­ing po­lice would there­fore want to com­mend soc­cer fans and the gen­eral pub­lic for the good be­hav­iour ex­hib­ited dur­ing the match in the face of in­flam­ma­tory mes­sages that were cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia that sought to pro­voke pub­lic dis­or­der against law en­forcers.

“Mem­bers of the pub­lic en­joyed a mu­tual re­la­tion­ship with the po­lice as ev­i­denced by some pho­to­graphs which were cir­cu­lat­ing on on­line me­dia which sig­nal a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween the po­lice and the pub­lic,” said Insp Si­mango.

Pic­tures of High­landers fans cel­e­brat­ing their vic­tory with po­lice on guard have been cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia. See Com­ment on Page 4 Tri­an­gle United 2-0.

Just like the ti­tle race, the fight for sur­vival is likely to go to the wire and with Strik­ers cer­tain to be rel­e­gated, ei­ther Tsholot­sho or Mutare City Rovers will join the Beit­bridge side in the First Di­vi­sion. — @ZililoR

Ndu­miso Gumede

Lloyd Mu­tasa

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