By Perkins-Tino Bare.
Harare, Zimbabwe. (News Of The South) –With the business end of this year`s edition of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, it was all business again as teams tried to make their last howl at the title whilst others were involved in the relegation dogfight which will be the last in which four teams will go down. At Barbourfields stadium in Bulawayo a man was on a mission to save his job as earlier this week he had been issued an ultimatum to win or lose his job.
King Fails To Save Mafu
A brace from promising youngster King Nadolo was not enough to save Bongani Mafu`s job as his team went down to Chicken Inn 2-3. This was Highlander`s third loss on the trot after losing to FC Platinum 2-1 and then to Hwahwa 1-0. Highlanders last won a league match when they pummelled How Mine 5-1 and that was right on the brink when Mafu`s job hung in this balance.
Highlanders went into this match without Knox Mutizwa but he was going to be the smaller equation as Bongani Mafu knew that the only thing that was going to save his job was a victory over Chicken Inn.
Chicken Inn dictated the play on the afternoon but Highlanders found their way back into the match and had it not been for an Ariel Sibanda blunder they would have scrapped a point from the match. The gamecocks opened the scoring through Bhekimpilo Ncube in the 24th minute but King Nadolo was to deny them the lead in the first half.
In the second half they managed to regain their lead but was again the King struck and it took a blunder from Ariel Sibanda for Chicken Inn to wrap – up the match 3-2.
The win sees Chicken Inn maintain their lead on top with 43 points whilst Highlanders get dumped into 10th position on the log. Joey Antipas was full of praise for his men, `“We got vital points to keep us going. It was a good derby. I would like to give credit to Highlanders for fighting back and to my boys for the fighting spirit to the end. The title is still a dog chase with Dynamos, FC Platinum and Triangle chasing,” Antipas said in an interview.
No Coming Back
Dynamos ensured that their campaign for a 5th consecutive title was alive and well as they beat How Mine 1-0 at Rufaro Stadium in a match played Sunday. Ronald Chitiyo broke away in added time to slot it home ensuring that they got all 3 points. How Mine had been able to hold Dynamos and just when they thought the point was secure they then lost it right at the end.
Dembare are now starting to show their slimy character of killing teams right at the end of the game. That championship winning mentality is slowly starting to creep up at just the right moment when the league is reaching its business end. They entertained How Mine for the whole 90 minutes only to hit them when it hurts the most, stoppage time, 1- 0 to Dembare and there`s no coming back from that.
This late charge is the same that denied Kelvin Kaindu the title 3 times in a row before he eventually lost his job. On the other hand Joey Antipas can see this and he knows that the wheels seem to be coming off for him but he is starting to be more cautious and this should all make to a very interesting end to the league as the wheat is separated from the chaff. If there is a man who needs to be afraid, very afraid, is Kelvin Kaindu as he seems to have no answer to this character whenever it peeps on him.
The win sees Dynamos trailing the Gamecocks by 4 points who also had to dig deep for their win as well as they seem not to be coming easy especially for the title chasing teams.
Triangle also lost on the other hand to on-fire FC Platinum who took the lead in the 23th minute through Brian Muzondiwa and there was no coming back from that for Triangle who are now frustrating all hopes of the league title going to the lowveld and for once not being in either Harare or Bulawayo. “We failed to score as a team. We had many chances and I believe we were just unlucky because, just look at how many times we hit the post,” Kaindu said in a post match interview.
On the other end of the table the relegation dogfight continued as teams scrap their last minute points to save themselves from going down. Dongo Sawmilll recorded their 3rd win but it was not enough however as they remained footed at the bottom of the log. They accounted for visiting Tsholotsho at Vengere Stadium and though they are on the right path getting those last minute points it could as well be a little too late.
The fact that its only their 3rd win of the season might work against them. With the win Dongo now have 16 points two behind 13th placed Tsholotsho who moveed out of the relegation zone and they will be hoping that Bosso keeps Mafu as they are not well in sight of the trip down.
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