BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS . . . . . . . . . .0
BULAWAYO CHIEFS . . . (1)1
Bulawayo Chiefs are close to complete what would be a remarkable great escape, needing just a point to retain their place in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League in their last match at the weekend following a derby defeat of Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
With yesterday’s win, they ended Highlanders’ 12-match unbeaten run and they set their sights on relegation rivals Herentals at Luveve on Saturday, aiming to get at least a point to survive the drop.
Ghanaian Isaac Badu scored as early as the fifth minute for Bulawayo Chiefs after Highlanders’ defenders failed to make a clearance from a corner-kick by Shepard Mhlanga.
Chiefs held on to that goal to the end to breathe a huge sigh of relief after executing another giant-killing act of the season that enhanced their survival chances.
After the win, coach Thulani Sibanda said they need not relax against Herentals on Saturday.
“It was a tough match (against Highlanders). We started strong and wanted it more than them. We had everything to play for, while they could afford to lose this game,” he said.
“We are not sure if we have survived relegation, but we are in a much more comfortable position than we were. We should not relax because anything can happen. Herentals have got a better goal difference than us.
“Actually, most of the teams there have better goal differences than us, so we can’t relax. We just have to stick to what we have been doing.”
Highlanders coach Hendrikus de Jongh blamed the delay in payment of salaries for the poor show by Bosso.
“I lost for the first time and I am not surprised. We have not been training for three or four days and it was always going to be difficult to win. There was no focus. Motivation was not good. After the Chibuku Cup, we did not train for three or four days because payments were not coming in good time,” the Bosso mentor said.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, M Phiri, M Ndlovu (M Sibanda 37’), A Mbeba, P Muduhwa, A Silla, G Makaruse, B Banda, T Makanda, P Dube, D Khumalo (D Mhindirira 51’)
Bulawayo Chiefs: D Bizabani, S Dube, B Mpofu, M Mkolo, I Badu, L Ndlela, A Musiyiwa, S Mhlanga, K Chakanyuka (H Chikosa 57’), T Muzuva 78’), D Shumbanhete, F Matare