THERE will obviously come a time when they will crack. But so far this Black Rhinos team has shown conviction, panache and fortitude.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Black Rhinos . . . . (1) 1
Highlanders . . . . . . . 0
They have been so resilient they have brushed aside the perceived big teams. Ngezi Platinum, Chicken Inn and Highlanders have been their latest victim after they were downed at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Yet this is a collection of players to whom few gave any serious consideration before the start of the campaign.
They are in eighth place on the standings with 28 points after 18 matches and undefeated in the last nine matches. If they can maintain this form, they might end up challenging the championship.
Black Rhinos were dominant and never showed any signs of respect to their more illustrious opponents as they launched wave after wave of attack in the first half.
They could in fact have killed off the match in the first stanza but their attackers appeared to lack the presence of mind in the attacking third.
They broke the deadlock on 12 minutes when Vincent Mhandu slotted home a rebound after Wellington Taderera’s shot had been palmed away by goalkeeper Prosper Mathuthu.
A minute later, Lot Chunga had an opportunity to increase the lead but he shot tamely at goal. Highlanders however, could have levelled matters through Nigel Makumbe on 26 minutes, but goalkeeper Ashley Reyners did well to save the effort.
From there on, Highlanders appeared to gain control as they threatened with some dangerous raids. Black Rhinos, however, could have doubled their advantage on 40 minutes but Wonder Kapinda skied his effort over the bar after a brilliant corner kick by Farai Banda.
In the second half, the Bulawayo giants looked determined to earn a point but were denied by some stoic defending by the army side with coach Hebert Maruwa introducing Augustine Mbara for Mhandu as he sought to close shop.
Bosso still refused to throw in the towel with Makumbe and Gabriel Nyoni coming close on 47 and 66 minutes respectively. This defeat was Highlanders’ third successive loss.
Black Rhinos coach Hebert Maruwa was pleased with the result.
“It was a good result. Coming from the break we managed to get a win, it helps us especially with confidence for the boys to make sure we put pressure on the teams that are above us. Mentally the boys are getting there, especially going for nine games without losing. I am satisfied with the progress of the team. We need to keep on winning so that we climb to the top.
Bosso’s Madinda Ndlovu (pictured) blamed lack of concentration for the defeat of his charges.
“I think we made a very early defensive error at the back and that cost us. I was nevertheless happy with the performance in the second half. We controlled parts of the game, we attacked very well but still we have a big challenge in our finishing. It showed we lack an experienced striker who can get us the goals we need.
Black Rhinos: A Rayners, T Jaravani, F Banda, B Homora, S Jimu, D Mudadi , W Kapinda, M Mambare ( E Chigiji, 67’), W Taderera,( A Kahadzikwa, 75’ ) V Mhandu ( A Mbara, 80’) L Chiunga.
Highlanders: P Matutu, C Siamalonga, M Phiri, A Silla, B Banda, N Sianchali (O Zibande, 64’), B Musaka, G Makaruse (G Nyoni, 64’), T Ndlovu, P Mudhuwa, N Makumbe