By Grace Chingoma and Takudzwa Chitsiga
Rodrick Mutuma, the self-styled prince of domestic football, chose the biggest game for his latest club, Yadah Stars, to score a golden goal against Highlanders at Rufaro yesterday and help the Miracle Boys win their fight against relegation.
Mutuma had not scored for the club, which is owned by Prophet Walter Magaya, since he arrived in July from his stint with Bosso.
But, in a key match at Rufaro, the gangly forward struck the priceless winner as Yadah Stars beat Bosso 2-1 to secure another dance with the Premiership.
Magaya had vowed in August this year, when he relieved head coach Jairos Tapera of his duties, that Yadah Stars would not be relegated.
“What I can only tell you, authoritatively, is that Yadah FC will not be relegated this season,’’ he told The Herald.
And, yesterday, his words came to pass as Yadah survived the chop with a game to play.
The victory came just a day after Magaya was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in theology by the University of South Africa on Saturday at a ceremony attended by the Swazi Royal Family.
Highlanders had taken the lead midway through the first half with a Ralph Matema effort before inspirational Yadah skipper Jimmy Dzingai, one of the best players in the domestic Premiership this season, equalised a minute before half-time.
The hosts even had the luxury of missing a penalty in the first half when midfielder Denzel Savanhu’s spot kick was saved by Highlanders goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, while Bosso were still leading 1-0.
It was celebration time at Rufaro as Yadah reached the 40-point mark, securing their safety, before they travel to Zvishavane to meet Shabanie Mine in their last game of the season.
Yadah coach Thomas Ruzive said they have learnt a lot in their maiden season and will definitely prepare to do better next year.
“Success is wanted by everyone, so we are definitely enjoying our moment,’’ he said.
“We are happy as a club today (Sunday). We are now looking forward to next season, we will definitely prepare for a better season than this one.
“It has been a learning curve for the club this year. We are going to be very active on the market during the off-season.’’
Shabanie Mine also celebrated a crucial away victory at Luveve where they beat How Mine 3-2.
The Chinda Boys still need a point to be safe regardless of what will happen to the other relegation candidates.
But the reality is that Takesure Chiragwi and troops all but secured their place in the top-flight league when Bruno Mtigo scored the winner in the fourth minute of optional time with the match seemingly headed for a draw.
Shabanie had found the opener in the 21st minute through Wellington Taderera before How Mine came strongly with goals from Adolf Mungayi in the 50th minute and forward Kuda Musharu in the 79th minute.
A determined Zvishavane remained resolute with Maxwell Murimi equalising in the 81 minute.
Chiragwi said he has always been confident they will survive.
“I knew that it was coming. I was confident that we would survive relegation. We have been playing very well and the results speak for themselves.
“It was just unfortunate that we found ourselves in this position. But we managed to do very well under difficult circumstances.
“I am happy for the team. The players fought very hard and gave a very big fight today (yesterday) and managed to score the winning goal deep in added time,” said Chiragwi.
Harare City remained stuck at the 35-point mark after losing their third successive match.
The Sunshine Boys last picked up a point on October 27.
Since then they have lost 1-2 to Triangle, 0-1 to Black Rhinos and yesterday they made survival difficult for themselves after losing 0-2 to Hwange at the Colliery.
The Chibuku Super Cup champions need a miracle to survive the dreaded chop — beating How Mine at Rufaro and hoping both Bulawayo City and Hwange lose against Bantu Rovers and ZPC Kariba.
“It is a bit tricky now. We are now third from bottom and Bulawayo City are going to play Bantu Rovers,’’ said Ncube.
“We need to fight. The hope is still there.’’
Bulawayo City gaffer Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu said he is still optimistic of surviving the chop after a goalless draw against CAPS United in Harare.
“We cannot control what has happened and our hope now lies in winning our last game against Bantu Rovers.
“We need to collect maximum points in that game so that we remain in the top-flight.
“The point is good for us as it can help us. We need to build from this result for next week’s game. We missed a lot of opportunities which, if we utilised, we could have easily walked away with maximum points.
“Our game against Bantu will be one of our biggest games and we will not leave anything to chance. We need to survive,’’ said Mpofu.
A victory alone might not be enough for Bulawayo City.
The club will be hoping that Hwange lose in Kariba and should Bigboy Mawiwi and his men win and take their tally to 40 points, Bulawayo City will also be hoping that they win with at least five goals against Bantu Rovers while Shabanie, who are already on 39 points, lose the match against Yadah Stars.
“I am very emotional today as the pressure was building from all angles with some sections of the media calling me a failure,’’ said Hwange coach Bigboy Mawiwi after his men’s win.
“I am not a failure and I will continue fighting to the last to save the team from the chop and the result today is encouraging.’’ The Herald