By Mukudzei Chingwere
RESURGENT Highlanders centre forward Prince Dube continued an impressive goal-scoring streak by taking his tally to six in five consecutive games in yesterday’s Castle Lager Premiership football stalemate against relegation-threatened Herentals at the National Sports Stadium.
Dube’s first half penalty was cancelled out late in the game by Blessing Majarira who also scored from 12 yards again to give the students some hope in their fight against the chop.
The Young Warriors forward continues to be a regular feature on the scoresheet, be it for his country and club in both league and cup competitions.
However, yesterday’s stalemate was new Dutch coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh’s third game in charge, having started with two wins and the only glitch being the latest game, which leaves his men on 32 points, seven points above safety position on the log standings.
Herentals are still in the murky waters of relegation with 25 points, two adrift of a safety position, and if they are serious about Premiership football next season, it is high time they start benching the club’s proprietor Innocent Benza who managed a measly eight, ineffective touches in the first half.
For Bosso, their coach de Jongh is bemoaning the congested fixture gridlock in the local Premiership which saw his men spending more than 28 hours this week alone in the bus to fulfill three matches.
“I have never seen anything like this, you cannot play five or six games in two weeks, it is not right and the players need time to rest and train which is impossible with the schedule.
“Today the performance was bad from the whole team, it is fatigue and we did not play well, (but) I hope we can recover in the upcoming fixtures.
“When I joined Highlanders the target was to climb up the ladder and avoid relegation but at the end of the season maybe we are now targeting something like a top eight finish,” said de Jongh.
The match started with very little action and came to life when Peter Muduhwa recklessly fouled Juan Mutudza inside the box, leaving referee of the day Norman Matemera with no option but to point to the spot.
With little research Richard Hachiro should have known, Ariel Sibanda is a good at saving penalties and had to be at his best, but his effort was saved by the veteran goalie.
Five minutes later on the opposite end, Dube converted his effort, which was awarded when Gibson Chinobva had handled inside the box a cross by Tinashe Makanda.
Herentals ensured a share of the spoils seven minutes from time when Majarira converted the third penalty of the day, which left coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva a relieved man.
“It is not a bad result, and this draw will help us in our fight against relegation, but I think we have what it takes to survive.
“The guys are doing well and working very hard which is positive for the team,” said Mutiwekuziva.
Herentals: P Tafiremutsa, B Maunganidze, G Chinobva, D Chitsanzara, W Chimbetu, J Mutudza, I Benza (T Benza 51st min), R Hachiro, K Bingala (B Majarira 61st min), P Chota, B Majarira
Highlanders: A Sibanda, M Phiri, B Banda, R Lunga (D Khumalo 80th min), P Nyirenda (R Chifura 77th min), N Masuku, A Mbeba, P Muduhwa, M Ndlovu, T Makanda, P Dube. The Chronicle