BY HENRY MHARA
MANICA Diamonds coach Johannes Nhumwa is backing his side to put a sustained challenge in the title race despite falling on the log standing after dropping points at the weekend.
The Mutare side were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by winless Cranborne Bullets in Mhondoro-Ngezi on Sunday, a result which Nhumwa blamed on complacency.
The draw saw Manica Diamonds dropping to second position, relinquishing the top spot on the log table to Chicken Inn.
Nhumwa’s men now have 17 points, two behind Chicken Inn after eight rounds of matches.
Asked if his team can sustain the title challenge, he said: “Yes of course. There is no coach who goes out there saying I will play to lose. We are playing the games to win and that is why I’m here to motivate the players to win as many matches as possible.”
His side has been impressive at home, winning all the four games that they played at Sakubva Stadium.
They have scored a staggering 13 goals in their four home matches, including a 6-2 bashing of Caps United.
More impressively, they managed to beat some of the so-called big teams, and title rivals.
Besides Caps United, Highlanders and Triangle also fell at Sakubva, as well as Whawha.
It is the away form that is of a major concern to Nhumwa.
Of the four games they played on the road, they only managed a 1-0 win over Bulawayo City.
They lost 2-1 to Herentals and drew twice to Yadah and Cranborne Bullets, two teams that are struggling.
“At home, we are winning so we need to rectify ourselves for the away games,” he said.
More worrying for Nhumwa is that the weekend draw means that the chasing pack is closing in on his side.
Dynamos and Triangle have reduced the gap on his team to within a point, while Ngezi Platinum Stars are two points away.
Nhumwa blamed complacency for the weekend result.
Victory here could have seen them move back to the top of the table, but they produced a haphazard performance especially in the first
They were even lucky to come out with a point as Everson Feremba of Cranborne missed a glorious chance to win his side all the three points at the death.
Tadiwa Chibunyu gave the winless Cranborne Bullets a 12th minute lead, which was cancelled out by Nyasha Chintuli on 65th minute, when he scored his sixth goal of the season.
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