Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Love­more Zi­gara in Gweru and Sikhum­buzo Moyo in Bu­l­awayo

DE­SPITE lurk­ing dan­ger­ously in the rel­e­ga­tion zone, air­men Cha­pungu still be­lieve they can per­form the Hou­dini act and fin­ish the Cas­tle Lager pre­mier­ship sea­son in a safe po­si­tion.

Cha­pungu are fourth from bot­tom with 32 points and shared the spoils with Hwange over the week­end draw­ing nil all at the Col­liery.

The re­sult meant the air­men are in dan­ger of rel­e­ga­tion if Zifa coun­cil­lors stick to their guns that four Pre­mier­ship teams must be rel­e­gated to pave way for the regional cham­pi­ons in the cen­tral, south­ern, east­ern and north­ern re­gions.

“Waru Waru” will be hop­ing that the gods will smile on them on the final day of the sea­son when they face ti­tle chas­ing Caps United at As­cot Sta­dium need­ing not h i n g short of vic­tory to en­ter­tain a n y chances of stay­ing in the topflight league.

If they man­age to win they will be hop­ing that Harare City do them a favour by beat­ing Tri­an­gle who have 35 points and need just a point to guar­an­tee their place in the league should the Zifa coun­cil­lors’ po­si­tion carry the day. A win for Cha­pungu and a loss for Tri­an­gle would mean the Gweru based out­fit stays in the Pre­mier­ship as both teams would fin­ish the sea­son tied on 35 points. Cha­pungu would sur­vive be­cause of a su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence. It is this fac­tor that has in­stilled a sense of be­lief in the Cha­pungu camp. “It is not over yet but we know that the game against Caps United will not be easy for us but we have to fight tooth and nail to get a re­sult that we want. Caps United have been on a roll and it is dif­fi­cult to stop them but we will have to be at our best and I still be­lieve that we can do it,” said Cha­pungu coach John Nyikadzino. While all the odds are heav­ily stacked against the air­men, his­tory is the only thing that Cha­pungu has in its favour.

The Green Ma­chine have never won at As­cot Sta­dium since the 2013 sea­son.

In fact Caps United have lost all their games to Cha­pungu at As­cot Sta­dium since then and while Cha­pungu would be try­ing to es­cape rel­e­ga­tion, the air­men could de­cide the ti­tle race should FC Plat­inum over­come Tsholot­sho.

FC Plat­inum put up a top drawer sec­ond half per­for­mance against Bu­l­awayo giants High­landers and com­fort­ably beat them 3-0 at Man­dava Sta­dium in a match that was marred by some pitch in­va­sion from the home side’s sup­port­ers af­ter heav­ens opened up.

High­landers will now fin­ish on third po­si­tion af­ter their ti­tle dreams dra­mat­i­cally went up in smoke even though they could have won the match had they utilised their first half chances.

An­other fac­tor that prob­a­bly contributed to their an­ni­hi­la­tion was the fail­ure by the tech­ni­cal bench to counter Nor­man Mapeza’s tac­ti­cal sub­sti­tu­tion of Tari­sai Rukanda who made way for Charles Sibanda.

Sibanda was clearly the game changer as he gave Tendai Ngu­lube a tor­rid time from the mo­ment he came on. The 2010 Soc­cer Star of the Year win­ner capped a bril­liant af­ter­noon with an equally bril­liant goal at the dearth. It’s a goal that could win a team any final.

High­landers’ play­ers could be forgiven for their low spir­its af­ter the end of the match with play­ers like Rah­man Kut­sanzira, Peter Muduhwa, Si­mon Mu­nawa and even young Prince Dube who had a mis­er­able af­ter­noon, shak­ing their heads right up to the team bus. It had dawned on them that their slim hopes of a league ti­tle were over. Its now a two team race be­tween firm favourites Caps United and FC Plat­inum who take on Tsholot­sho at Lu­veve Sta­dium on Sun­day.

Tsholot­sho are now al­most con­firmed rel­e­gated un­less the move to chop four teams fails, which is un­likely. There are also fears that the club might not be able to re­main in ex­is­tence once they get rel­e­gated, amid ru­mours that Zim­babwe Saints are ly­ing in wait to grab the fran­chise. — @lavuzi­gara1

Si­mon Mu­nawa

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