FORMER Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Black Mambas, now known as ZRP FC, had a sluggish start to life in the Northern Region Division One League after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat to Flame Lily in their opening match of the 2014 campaign at the weekend.
The police outfit is one of the three Harare-based teams which were relegated from the PSL after Monomotapa and Motor Action were also chopped.
ZRP coach John Ncube has, however, expressed confidence they will be able to bounce back into the top-flight league as they managed to retain most of the players they had last season.
The police side still has players like Nicholas Alifandika, Kasimero Chimbadzwa and Convenience Hungwe among others after losing captain Benson Nyahunzvi to Chicken Inn and the pair of goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga and Tsepo Ranthokoane who joined ZPC Kariba.
Despite fielding a strong side, Mambas got a reality check when they fell to the Prison Services team on Saturday.
Ncube blamed the defeat on the condition of the pitch at Chikurubi.
He said his players were used to better pitches having just come from the Premier League.
He, however, said his players needed to adjust quickly as the condition of the pitches in Division One is just the same.
“I think the condition of the pitch contributed to our defeat,” Ncube said.
“These players are still used to playing on pitches with better surfaces as they are just coming from the Premier League.
“All pitches in Division One are bumpy and the players have to adapt quickly to the condition of these pitches.
“But I was happy with their performance in the second-half. It was unfortunate they couldn’t score, but they created quite a good number of chances.”
Another former Premier League side Gunners, who have been trying without success to return to the top-flight league, also got off to a poor start following a 1-0 defeat to Bindura at Lafarge.