Bulawayo City fight for survival

ZPC Kariba's Talent Chawapihwa (left) blocks a shot by Bulawayo City's Brian Chikwenya during a soccer league match played at Barbourfields stadium yesterday....Pic By Dennis Mudzamiri...

BULAWAYO City will be desperate to pick maximum points when they face How Mine in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Luveve Stadium this afternoon to ease their relegation worries, as they continue their fight to remain in the top league.

With six games to go, Bulawayo City currently sit on position 14, one rung above the relegation cut-off point, with 32 points.

They are just one point above Shabanie Mine on 15th position and a win could see them leapfrogging to 12th position, if results from other matches involving teams in the relegation fight go their way.

Bulawayo City coach Mandla Mpofu, whose team has lost their last three league matches, knows this streak of results should not continue if they are to survive the chop at the end of the season.

In fact, they will need to win the rest of their games to be sure of playing top league football next season.

“It’s a tricky encounter against How Mine. Local derbies are difficult, but we need nothing short of a win and we have to double our efforts to win this encounter,” he said yesterday. “The boys are ready to die for the club and we really need to win our remaining games if we are to survive.”

They will have to win today’s encounter without captain Zibusiso Sibanda, who suffered a head injury after colliding with teammate Nyasha Mukumbi in a defeat against Ngezi Platinum on Saturday.

He had to be rushed to hospital, where he has not been discharged since then.

Sipho Ndlovu is suspended for the match.

How Mine are at the other end of the log standings on sixth position, and are also desperate to win the match for a totally different reason.

“We are both coming from defeats at the weekend, but I believe more pressure is on Bulawayo City to try and consolidate their position on the log table. For us, we still have 21 points to play for and it’s very possible to end the season in the top four,” How Mine coach Kelvin Kaindu said.

Kaindu will be without Pasca Manhanga, who was red-carded on Saturday in the loss to Hwange.

Meanwhile, Hwange, third from the bottom, have won their last two matches and will hope to make it three in a row when they face 13th-placed Yadah FC at the Colliery.

Coach Bigboy Mawiwi is confident of another victory, which will significantly boost their chances of surviving relegation.

“It is a very tricky encounter because Yadah have been very consistent in the second half of the season. They are fighters. We are very confident and will fight to the end to make sure we get maximum points. There are no two ways about it,” he said.

Yadah have not lost a league match in their last five encounters, winning two and drawing three.

Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures

Today: Bantu Rovers v ZPC Kariba (Luveve, 1pm), How Mine v Bulawayo City (Luveve, 3pm), FC Platinum v Shabanie Mine (Mandava), Chapungu v Ngezi Platinum (Ascot), Hwange v Yadah (Colliery), Dynamos v Tsholotsho (National Sports Stadium)
Tomorrow: Triangle v Highlanders (Gibbo), Black Rhinos v Caps United (National Sports Stadium), Chicken Inn v Harare City (Luveve)