Arenel coach on how they fell off the Southern Region D1 championship race Arenel Movers Coach

Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter

AT the Zifa Southern Region Division One League half-way mark, it looked the race for promotion was a two horse contest pitting Arenel Movers and Hwange while ZPC Hwange were the dark horses.

Arenel Movers celebrate goal

Chipangano went to the break on 42 points having picked up 12 wins and three draws. They were yet to taste defeat in the campaign at that point. Arenel were second on 36 points, followed by ZPC Hwange on 33 while Talen Vision completed the top four on 32 points. Arenel edged Hwange 1-0 at White City Stadium in the first game of the second round and seemed to be game on between the two sides until the former started dropping points and are now set to finish inside the top four.

“It has been a rollercoaster of a season with ups and downs with it being my first season with the team. I believe we did well surpassing expectations at one stage and falling short at a later stage.

“My honest opinion is we did exceptionally well finishing in the top four in your maiden season is every coach’s dream even worse still among seasoned campaigners in the likes of Hwange, ZPC and Talen Vision. Just look at where these teams finished in the previous seasons.

“Hwange was in the Premier, TV was second with ZPC third, where was Arenel? Relegated,” said Arenel coach Kudzayi Mhandire.

“I believe we have made giant steps as a team. From being relegated to championship contenders in just one season is no joke in a league that is not easy like this one especially for teams in Bulawayo vying for promotion where you get to play a minimum of 10 derbies.

“Every football follower knows what a derby is like playing those week in week out is no joke, it takes lots of mental strength credit goes to the boys, look at us Arenel we played all games save for one (Indonsakusa) because the team got defunct,’’ remarked Mhandire.

“As compared to teams we were competing against how many freebies did they get with teams failing to travel so we find the playing field isn’t level in that regard but it’s something you can’t change you simply have to win your games and hope for the best.”

On losing out on the championship, Mhandire believes that it was inevitable because of the way they prepared for the season.

“As of slipping off the race, I think it was bound to happen at a certain stage because look it’s how you prepare from the beginning that takes you over the home stretch, your sprinters cramp towards the finish line and limp off owing to how conditioned they are (preparedness) that on its own now gives you a clear picture on where as a team we are lagging behind. Whereas as a team you now need to fix and come next season bigger. We got our lessons this season, we will try and rectify our shortcomings,” said Mhandire.

Hwange are just a point away from securing a return to the Premier Soccer League. With six points to play for, all Hwange have to do is get a draw in one of the remaining matches to seal promotion and return to the top flight. Chipangano are on 82 points while ZPC Hwange have 77 points but it will be all over if Hwange secure just a point at home against Indlovu Iyanyathela at the Colliery Stadium on Saturday, the same day that ZPC Hwange get the free three points courtesy of the now defunct Indonsakusa. -@innocentskizoe

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