Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
BULAWAYO City might plunge into the dreaded relegation bracket this afternoon if they lose to How Mine at Luveve Stadium and Shabanie Mine pull off a shocker against red-hot FC Platinum in a Zvishavane derby at Mandava Stadium.
Another relegation threatened side Hwange might pull out of the dreaded radar with a home win over Yadah FC if City and Shabanie Mine lose, as the relegation and championship fight gathers momentum heading into the last six games of the 2017 season.
Chipangano’s points tally will go to 32, the same as Amakhosi, as Bulawayo City call themselves, have before this afternoon’s clash against How Mine but the status quo will remain if Shabanie Mine hand FC Platinum their third loss of the season.
There is no prize for guessing that the Mandava encounter will be a full-bloodied, pound for pound affair reminiscent of any derby.
Unlike the calculators that are needed for the other sides, Bulawayo City can avoid all that by simply winning their match which however is against an equally wounded How Mine who lost 0-1 at the same venue to Hwange on Saturday.
City coach Mandla Lulu Mpofu said the boys are aware of the danger they face but they are ready to fight to the bitter end and are taking all their games now like cup finals.
“It’s a pressure industry and we are all seeing the danger. We need to double our efforts to get out the situation, all remaining games are cup finals to us but we don’t need to panic,” said Mpofu whose side are in the last four of the lucrative Chibuku Super Cup.
They will however miss the services of inspirational captain Zibusiso ‘Mzimara’ Sibanda whose season came to an abrupt end after a head injury following a clash against teammate Nyasha Mukumbi on Saturday. It’s a huge loss for Bulawayo City as Sibanda has been a steadying force at the back and is one of the few defenders that can be considered for the Soccer Star of the Year finalist accolade.
“Mzimara’s injury is a huge blow for us because he has been one of the most consistent players in our team. Considering the results that we’ve been getting, I think he could have easily made it into the country’s top 11 players at the end of the season. We are praying for a miracle to happen to him and hope that he quickly recovers,” said Mpofu.
How Mine need at least six points from the remaining 18 to be certain of survival as the Kelvin Kaindu coached boys will take their points tally to 49.
In an earlier encounter at Luveve Stadium, outgoing Premiership outfit Bantu Rovers welcome ZPC Kariba. At Ascot Stadium, Ngezi Platinum can shoot to the top of the table with a win over Chapungu United and Tsholotsho pull off a Houdini Act at the giant National Sports Stadium by getting a result over leaders Dynamos.
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 FC (National Sports Stadium)
Thursday: Triangle United v Highlanders (Gibbo), Black Rhinos v Caps United (National Sports Stadium), Chicken Inn v Harare City (Luveve).