By Mukudzei Chingwere
After surviving relegation with one game to go, and having flirted with the dreaded chop for the better part of the campaign, Chapungu and Yadah are targeting a better Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season next year.
The two teams fought out a draw at Ascot to secure their stay in the top-flight.
Nichrut became the last team to be demoted with a defeat away to Triangle which left them five points adrift of a safety position with just one game remaining.
Chapungu are now on 38 points, Yadah on 40 and they will be going into the last games of the campaign only needing to finish on respectable positions.
The Gweru airmen were at one time anchoring the standings and seasoned coach Rodwell Dhlakama was brought in to save the sinking ship.
From day one when he assumed the coach’s post, the former Young Warriors gaffer who once took Monomotapa to the CAF Champions’ League group stages insisted Chapungu would not be demoted.
He attributed that to the belief he had in the team’s arsenal.
“I looked at the quality of the players and the experience at the team’s disposal and I realised that only hard work and perseverance will take us forward and I knew we will not be relegated.
“We have managed to save the team from relegation and we are very happy for the community of Gweru.
“We had a very bad start as you might have realised and it is now time to strategies and plan for the future as soon as possible, we want to do our homework prior to the start of the season and we are targeting more success for next season,” said Dhlakama.
His Yadah counterpart, Thomas Ruzive, said the team did better than last term and was also targeting continued improvement.
“This season we did better than what we did in 2017 but for 2019 we want to do far much better than we have done in the previous two seasons.
“I am happy we have survived relegation but we came here very relaxed knowing that we will not be relegated now the target is to keep on improving and we do not want to be fighting relegation,” said Ruzive.
The visitors had a better start to the duel with veteran forward Ralph Matema striking the woodwork before he was denied with some excellent goalkeeping by Talbert Shumba.
After the breather Chapungu created the better chances, Clive Rupiya should have scored after brilliant work by Phillip Marufu on the line but the former failed to push the ball beyond an exposed Stephen Chimusoro.
Moments later Maxwell Mavuto failed to capitalise on a goalmouth melee.
Chapungu: T. Shumba, E. Chitauro, H. Mugoniwa, C. Kwaramba, B. Mbavarira, E. Muzanenhamo, I. Nyoni (P. Marufu, 56th min), J. Jam, A. Tavarwisa (O. Mukuradare. 72nd min), R. Manuvire (M. Mavuto. 65th min), C. Rupiya.
Yadah: S. Chimusoro, W. Kalongonda, W. Chakanyuka, A. Makopa, J. Chitereki, Z. Biseki, L. Mavhunga (M. Makopa, 90th min), B, Mapfumo, R, Matema, J. Sibanda (S. Sithole, 79th min), M. Musiyakuvi (M. Meleka. 62nd min). The Herald