Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Black Rhinos inch closer to leaders

By Ricky Zililo

“You snooze, you lose,” that’s the warning army side Black Rhinos have issued to the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s top three Chicken Inn, Caps United and defending champions, FC Platinum.

Black Rhinos players
File picture of Black Rhinos players

Rhinos moved within a point of log leaders Chicken Inn, who are on 22 points from 11 games, after beating TelOne 2-0 to settle in fourth spot, tied on 21 points with FC Platinum, who are third with a superior goal difference.

With inconsistency hitting all the top three teams, which failed to secure maximum points at the weekend, Rhinos found reason to believe that they have a chance of landing the title ahead of the favourites.

“We have to try to keep in touch with the teams at the top. We need to win something this season and finish in the top four. It can be first, second, third or fourth finish, but anything can happen, especially if they (Chicken Inn, Caps United and FC Platinum) slip-up,” said Herbert Maruwa, the Black Rhinos coach.

The army side’s last league title was in 1986, but they believe they can bank on the inconsistencies of the top three teams, which have developed a tendency of dropping points at crucial stages.

Rhinos have a balanced side, with the average age of their players being 25 years.

Warriors’ fringe defender Bruce Homora gives them shape at the back, with defensive midfielder Gift Saunyama and veteran Allan Gahadzikwa ably commanding the midfield, while experienced attackers Moses Demera and Wellington Taderera keep opponents’ defences on their toes.

Demera hit a brace for Black Rhinos at the weekend.

Goals by Kuda Musharu and Ishmael Wadi condemned leaders Chicken Inn to a 2-1 home defeat by Harare City, with the hosts grabbing a consolation through Marlvin Gaki.

The Gamecocks have collected four points from a possible 12 in their last four home games; losing 1-0 to FC Platinum, beating Highlanders 3-0, drawing 0-0 against Black Rhinos and falling 1-2 to Harare City.

These statistics have left Chicken Inn coach, Joey Antipas furious.

“We shouldn’t be dropping points like this, especially at home, if we are to be serious title contenders. What is important is to pick ourselves up and focus on the next game,” said Antipas.

Chicken Inn will take solace that second-placed Caps United suffered a shock 1-3 loss to lowly Herentals.

FC Platinum picked a “valuable” point away at Ngezi Platinum Stars where they played to a goalless draw.

Bottom of the table Bulawayo Chiefs registered their second win of the season after claiming the scalp of Mushowani Stars on a 2-1 score line.

Farau Matare and Hussein Zvakavapano grabbed the goals for Chiefs, with Sylon Chigwerengwe finding the face-saver for Mushowani.

Alarm bells are ringing at Hwange, who lost their fifth consecutive match, a 1-2 loss to visiting Triangle United to slip into 12th place with 13 points.

Hwange are now two points above the relegation zone and should they lose their next encounter and Herentals, who are on 12 points, as well as TelOne and Highlanders, who are tied on 11 points, win their respective games, the coalminers will find themselves in the red zone.

Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Matchday 11 results

Saturday: Herentals 3-1 Caps United, Chicken Inn 1-2 Harare City, ZPC Kariba 0-0 Chapungu, Yadah 1-0 Highlanders, Ngezi Platinum Stars 0-0 FC Platinum.

Sunday: TelOne 0-2 Black Rhinos, Hwange 1-2 Triangle United, Mushowani Stars 1-2 Bulawayo Chiefs, Dynamos 0-0 Manica Diamonds.

Table

P W D L F A GD Pts

Chicken Inn 11 7 1 3 19 7 12 22

Caps United 11 7 1 3 20 12 8 22

FC Platinum 11 6 3 2 12 5 7 21

Black Rhinos 11 6 3 2 14 10 4 21

Chapungu 11 5 4 2 14 9 5 19

ZPC Kariba 11 5 2 4 8 10 -2 17

M/Diamonds 11 4 4 3 12 10 2 16

Harare City 11 5 1 5 14 13 1 16

Ngezi Platinum 11 4 4 3 10 9 1 16

Dynamos 11 4 3 4 7 8 -1 15

Triangle United 11 4 2 5 14 15 -1 14

Hwange 11 4 1 6 9 15 -6 13

Herentals 11 2 6 3 7 7 0 12

TelOne 11 2 5 4 5 8 -3 11

Highlanders 11 2 5 4 5 9 -4 11

Yadah 11 2 3 6 7 15 -8 9

Mushowani 11 2 2 7 12 17 -5 8

Byo Chiefs 11 2 2 7 10 20 -10 8. The Chronicle