Hwange avoid relegation
Takashinga off to good start in Uganda
Hwange 0-0 Chapungu A DRAW was probably the fairest result as hosts Hwange and visiting Chapungu battled it out in this lukewarm Castle Lager Premier League match at the Colliery Stadium yesterday.
Both teams have suddenly found themselves as relegation candidates with the ongoing relegation saga between Zifa and the Premier Soccer League but the coalminers will be more pleased with the point as it leaves them in a safe zone whatever the final outcome of the impasse is at the end of the day.
The airmen had a big chance in the opening two minutes of the contest with striker Patrick Khumbula’s flashing header being acrobatically tipped over the bar by the impressive Hwange goalkeeper Taimon Mvula.
Khumbula’s attempt jolted the hosts into life. They started to pin Chapungu in their own half but the goal proved elusive with a glut of missed chances by the miners.
The miss of the afternoon came in the 18th minute when Hwange’s talismanic striker Gift Mbweti cleverly waltzed his way past two Chapungu defenders inside the box only for him to miscue his effort with goalkeeper Talbott Shumba to beat.
The youngster was to again hold his head in disbelief three minutes into the last stanza when he blazed his effort over the bar from a few metres out after he had latched on to a lovely Gilbert Zulu cross.
The match then became a big yawn and only livened up in the last quarter after Mebelo Njekwa introduced veteran attacking
midfielder Farai Vimisai for Admire Banda in the 75th minute.
Vimisai embarked on some mazy runs from the right flank and sent in delicate crosses which found no takers inside the box. Overlapping left back Munyaradzi Mungadze joined in the list of culprits to miss chances on the stroke of fulltime when he blazed his shot way over the bar after coming at the end of a Vimisai sitter. Njekwa bemoaned the chances wasted for the share of points. “It was a game of missed chances as we got many of them but we failed to convert any. They also defended well but I thank my God for helping the team avoid relegation,” he said. His opposite number John Nyikadzino praised his boys for the right attitude. “My boys had a right mental approach to the game and it is commendable. We wanted maximum points away from home but well it didn’t happen but in our last match against Caps we will fight tooth and nail to get maximum points,” he said. Bulawayo referee Philani Ncube had a firm grip on the match much to the appreciation of both coaches. — @ tobymandox TIMYCEN Maruma displayed maturity and composure in his unbeaten 57 off 54 balls that spurred Takashinga Cricket Club to a nervy three-wicket victory over Uganda XI at the Lugogo Oval yesterday.
Takashinga, 113-7, reached home in 32 overs after their bowlers had done an exceptional job of bundling out Uganda for 110 in 32,4 overs.
Despite it being anxious triumph, Takashinga got off to a winning start at the 2016 Uganda Quadrangular tournament which also involves Kenya XI and Uganda Select.
But yesterday, Takashinga’s victory began at the toss after captain Roy Kaia called correctly and opted to bowl with the smart aim of utilising a pitch that retained a lot of moisture from Saturday’s downpour.
“I think it was a good toss to win because the wicket played a lot in the morning and the bowlers did bowl very well to start with,” Maruma said.
Left arm seamer Richard Ngarava (3-13) took advantage of the pitch condition and got Uganda panicking before off spinner Tapiwa Mufudza (4-19) complemented the efforts alongside Blessing Muzarabani (2-25) and Shingi Masakadza’s solo scalp.
“I just want to give credit to the bowlers for bowling well though the wicket was assisting and it was difficult to bat in the morning so we took advantage of the morning conditions.”
What looked to be an easily achievable target of 111 ended up making Takashinga bite their nails after Uganda XI spinners tightened screws and almost turned the game on its head.
Apart from Maruma sticking it up, Takashinga’s top and middle order didn’t fire with Innocent Kaia (four), Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (14), Charles Kunje (one), Roy Kaia, Forster Mutizwa (both six), Wellington Masakadza (eight) and Shingi Masakadza (seven) being the wickets to fall.
Maruma added: “When we came to bat in the afternoon I just thought there were too many soft dismissals. Guys didn’t stick there, guys were just getting out; no one looked like they wanted to apply themselves.
“When I saw guys getting out I just said to myself ‘I just have to be here till the end’ because I know if I was there till the end we would win the game which we did.”
Ugandans Frank Nsubuga (3-34) and Henry Senyondo (2-29) applied the “choke and strangle” which almost paid off.
Maruma, seven fours and a six, got to his match-saving and winning half century with boundary before hitting the winning runs with a maximum over the midwicket.
Takashinga will play their second match against Kenya XI at the same venue today.
“It’s good we started on a winning note. We just got to carry on with this momentum to the next game," said Maruma.
“Once you win the confidence will go high so I am sure everyone will come tomorrow (today) with their heads high though we should have got this (yesterday’s) total without losing many wickets. But I am sure just having a win in our bag will boost the guys’ confidence."