By Mukudzei Chingwere
Bulawayo giants Highlanders had their hopes of finishing in the top-four dealt a blow after they were held by struggling basement side Shabanie Mine at Maglas yesterday.
Captain of the day Gabriel Nyoni had thrust Bosso into a first half lead but Fradreck Muza ensured a share of spoils when scoring in the second period for the hosts.
Shabanie put up a spirited performance despite missing some days of training owing to the dire financial situation that is threatening the existence of the Zvishavane outfit.
For Highlanders, the stalemate felt like a defeat as they wanted to reduce the gap between fourth-placed Triangle United and them.
Triangle remained four points ahead of Highlanders.
Shabanie Mine’s fate could in fact be sealed as early as the next match day if the other sequence of results go against them next weekend.
Mandla Mpofu led the technical team in the absence of a grieving Madinda Ndlovu following the loss of his cousin.
Mpofu conceded the stalemate felt like a defeat for his charges.
“This is like a defeat, dropping points against a team that is fighting relegation. We wanted to win this game to push up the ladder.
“The game plan was to create scoring chances from the start and we got the chances, remember we missed the penalty and I think if we had gone to half-time two goals up we were going to hold on.
“We wanted to finish off this game in the first half because in the second half I knew Shabanie would throw everything at us.
“As much as we are happy with a point gained I feel it is two points lost. We are building our team and the target for this season is to finish on a respectable position,” said Mpofu.
Shabanie Mine coach Alexio Sigion was happy with the result.
“In the first half I noticed they were cautious and at half-time I told the boys to attack them because I felt they were afraid of us.
“I am happy with the team’s performance, what I want is for the team to remain professional and play good football.
“Like I said there is everything to play for, the pride of the team and for the good of players as well.
“As for relegation, we will see where we are at the end of the season because it is no longer in our hands,” said Sigion. The Herald