HIGH-FLYING Castle Premiership football side Monomotapa and wounded Black Mambas will be under pressures when they face off at Rufaro Stadium this afternoon. Former champions Monoz third on the log standings with 44 points, want to consolidate their current position until the end of the season.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA SPORTS REPORTER
The police side — seated four points off the relegation cut-off point with 28 points — are hard pressed to win the match and move away from the dreaded zone.
Monoz are 12 points behind second-placed Highlanders as the season draws to an end and coach Biggie Zuze knows that the only realistic chance is finishing third.
“We want to finish the season on a respectable position. Our focus since we started the season was to finish in the top four and I’m happy to say that we are right on track,” Zuze said yesterday.
The two teams’ last matches were against a similar opposition in Highlanders. Mambas succumbed to a last minute Lawson Nkomo-goal in a league match against Bosso a fortnight ago, while Monoz came from behind to beat the Bulawayo giants 3-2 in the Mbada Diamonds Cup last week. Mambas coach John “Toto” Ncube is well aware of Monoz’s threat after their recent heroics.
“Almost every soccer fan around is talking about Monomotapa. There is no doubt they are currently playing a game of their life, but to us they are just one of the 16 league teams and we are treating them as such. This is one of the remaining games we want to win to strengthen our chances of staying up. We don’t want to rely on other teams for us to survive,” Ncube said.
Monoz’s chances have been boosted by the return to full fitness of lethal striker Tawanda Nyamandwe. The big centre forward has been out of action for more than a month now.
However, more pleasing for the 2009 league champions is the form of midfielder Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo. The pint-sized midfielder has been in devastating form of late, winning three man-of-the-match accolades during his team’s last four matches.
“The game will be tough because Mambas are fighting for their life. We are very wary of them, but I believe my team will be in the right frame of mind going into the match,” said Zuze.“Nyamandwe is 100% fit now, but in terms of match fitness, he is yet to get there. We might give him 20 minutes in the coming match. Rooney is on top of his game at the moment and it’s good for the team. But at Monoz we don’t rely on the performance of one player. We play as a team.”
Black Mambas will be without the injured trio of Sebastian Mutizirwa, Convenience Hungwe and George Chikweva, but coach Toto believed they were well prepared to upset their fancied opponent.