CENTRAL Region Division One football leaders Tripple B claimed the bragging rights in the Beitbridge derby at Dulibadzimu Stadium, winning 1-0 over Strikers FC, to move closer to taking Premiership football back to the border town.
WELLINGTON TONI RECENTLY IN BEITBRIDGE
Having been pipped via a boardroom decision last season by Hardbody, Tripple B hold their own destiny and a home match against Tongogara this weekend will almost see them through.
Edmore Mawine sliced home past Strikers goalkeeper Josphat Sibanda in the 25th minute to take Tripple B to 60 points from 25 matches, with five more games to play.
Mathematically, the race is still a long one, as the leaders need eight more points from a possible 15 to move to an unassailable 68 points.
The highest that second-placed Chapungu and Strikers can reach is 67 points if they win all their remaining games.
Strikers have two games in hand and any loss for them and Chapungu and Tripple B’s win over Tongogara will, but push them into big-time football.
The match was played before a packed crowd, close to 2 000 fans, who brought the border town to a standstill, as the bitter rivalry had increased tensions.
Dulibadzimu was simply a sea of blue and white for the hosts Strikers while Tripple B fans, in green and white, settled at the other end to create a carnival atmosphere.
But there is something peculiar about these two teams and the border town itself.
This has become the home of some of the veterans of the game. One having met former AmaZulu and Highlander attacker Thomas Banda before the match, there was no doubt more players would make an appearance. So there entered another former great, ex-Young Warriors, AmaZulu and Highlanders utility player Master Masiku in Tripple B colours.
He is close to making a return to the Premiership and said after the match: “We are just one point away from the PSL (Premier Soccer League).”
Vimbai Madamombe, a former Dynamos defender, Webster Chingodza of the now defunct Shooting Stars, Amani Makiwa, formerly of Quelaton and the former Zimbabwe Saints pair of Thomas Kondora and Givemore Fireyi, are all in the green and white of Tripple B.
Former AmaZulu and Monomotapa left back Vorster Chitemu is now the team captain at Strikers, former Railstars star Siza Dube is also there while Phillip Makanje, formerly of Chicken Inn and former Highlanders striker Patrick “Mboma” Mpofu and Sibanda all play at the border town.
Tripple B president Eddie Kanyangu said they needed a win against Tongogara to ensure their place in the Premiership.
They have a pending case with Zifa over the use of an uregistered player, but the fault seems to lie with the association after they failed to confirm the suspension of a player who had three yellow cards before a match.