The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Can Chegutu Pirates win it for Makumbe?

- Bruce Chikuni

WHEN Chegutu Pirates’ long-time benefactor, Columbus Makumbe, died this year in February, Dzinza players felt like the world had just ended.

To outsiders, Makumbe’s death signalled the end of the project.

Chegutu Pirates were not even in the conversati­on for a possible top four finish this season and some were fearing they would be relegated.

Teams like Black Mambas, Golden Eagles, Harare City, Herentals Under-20 and MWOS dominated discussion­s around top four finishers. As the Chegutu Pirates family slowly accepted his demise, they vowed to repay Makumbe’s unmatched efforts by winning the ZIFA Northern Region Division One Soccer League championsh­ip.

Two weeks ago, Chegutu Pirates were still outsiders in the title race as they were seven points behind leaders Black Mambas.

Two weeks later, Chegutu Pirates are now just two points off leaders, Black Mambas with two games to play before the end of this campaign.

And, they will leapfrog Warumwa Warumwa this Saturday should they register maximum points at Pfupajena.

It is a potential title decider. Interestin­gly, the Castle Lager Premiershi­p has already been secured by a Mashonalan­d West side, Ngezi Platinum Stars with two games to play.

And, there is now a possibilit­y that Chegutu Pirates who are also from the same province will book their PSL ticket.

And, should this happen, it means Makumbe’s tribute will be paid in full.

Only people in Chegutu can best describe what this means to them and they have never been this close.

It remains a wild dream unless they can afford to pull off a shocker in what has started as an impossible mission.

But, their goalie, Tendai Chirara, has really shouldered this unimaginab­le burden in a super crazy way.

He has recorded 25 clean sheets in 30 assignment­s and conceded just five times.

The 19-year-old has been the difference in their roller-coaster ride and especially when factoring in that Gift Mwenga and Panashe Mushonga have jointly busted the net six times apiece. Mushonga joined Dzinza after the recess and the Legends Academy graduate is really making a good account of himself.

Chirara says they want to win it for their fans. “Some might say it’s a miracle that we have made it this far, but as players, we are not blind to see that it has been our fans who have supported us since the start of the season.

“We have been in this league for a long time but people never believed that we would get this far and that alone also gave us the edge because we were not under any pressure to collect maximum points we were just going with the floor but our fans never stopped rallying behind us.

WEEK 32 Results

Ngezi Under-19 1-0 Chinhoyi Stars; Commando Bullets 3-0 Herentals Under 20; Harare City 1-0 Trojan Stars; Omnia 1-2 Chegutu Pirates; Concession 0-3 PAM FC; Shamva Mine 1-0 ZRP Harare; Karoi United 0-1 Banket United; Black Mambas 0-0 MWOS

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