Zimbabwe Saints head coach Ephraim Chawanda says surviving relegation will be like winning the championship for his side who take on Masvingo United at Mucheke Stadium in a Premiership match on Sunday.
Chikwata’s fight against relegation for depends on how the other teams at the basement of the log standings perform, but Chawanda yesterday said the onus was on his boys to collect maximum points in all the remaining four matches.
“It’s now like going into World War Three. We are trying our best, but it’s like we cannot find the solution to reignite the fighting spirit in the boys. It’s all up to the players now, but we are trying hard. I prefer that my boys win all the remaining games and not depend on how the other teams will play,” Chawanda said.
The coach said from his defenders, captain Abraham Mbaiwa is limping and will have to fight a late fitness test as is Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu.
“We are, however, ready for Masvingo and the boys have been showing signs of high spirits. We have a few injuries, but that will not be an excuse.
“Mbaiwa and Dumisani are limping. Every playing field is like home to us. We do not have any problem playing away,” Chawanda said.
The former Warriors’ defender said his boys should guard against the glory of storming into the semi-final of the Mbada Diamonds Cup as it was short-lived.
“They know that Mbada is a short-term assignment. Of course, we are in the semi-final and Mbada is around the corner, but what will the glory of winning the cup be if we are then relegated?” Chawanda said.
Chikwata beat Kiglon 9-8 to storm into the semi-final of the Mbada Diamonds Cup, but fell 1-0 to Blue Ribbon in their last league assignment and plunged to the base of the log table.
Saints will be hoping that fellow relegation-fighting sides Shooting Stars, Kiglon, Shabanie, Black Mambas and Monomotapa lose their matches on Sunday.
However, even if they win on Sunday and Shabanie lose to log-leaders FC Platinum at Mandava, Chikwata will not walk over the former asbestos miners, who are on 28 points and have only accumulated 22 in 26 matches.
If Kiglon lose to Monomotapa at Gwanzura and Chikwata win in Masvingo then they might climb to position fourteen as they also pray that Shooting Stars lose their tough assignment to Motor Action at Motor Action Sports Club.
However, Masvingo are also not very safe from the chop although they are perched at position 10 with 30 points and the Ralph Kawondera-coached outfit, who lost 3-2 to Kiglon in their last league match in Harare, will not give Chikwata three points on a silver platter.
After Masvingo, Chikwata will be home to Black Mambas, away to Kiglon then entertain Caps United at home.
They will only be safe if they win all their remaining games and Black Mambas, Shabanie, Kiglon and Shooting Stars lose all their last matches.
Saints will also be without Sydney Linyama while Masvingo will miss Isaac Chapura and Terrence Majo due to suspension.