Mukudzei Chingwere Sports reporter
Chapungu ……………………………… .. (0) 1
Shabanie Mine ……………………………… 0
CHAPUNGU might have taken an important step in their fight against relegation, but their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League triumphed over Shabanie Mine at Ascot yesterday had far-reaching consequences because it forced ailing Dynamos into the drop zone.
Rarely has a result of a game with Chapungu and Shabanie attracted so much interest, but the outcome of the game affected DeMbare's log in the midst of the growing concern that the biggest club in the country might slip into the abyss, triggered by which is increasingly becoming a separate possibility that they could be relegated.
When the news from Ascot was filtered, the pilots of Rodwell Dhlakama had conquered the basement side of Shabanie, which meant they had pushed Dynamos into the drop zone.
Former defensive midfielder James Jam of Harare City scored his first goal for Chapungu and grabbed the invaluable goal just after the hour to make the pilots jump from the 15th to 11th place.
They even overtook Yadah Stars, who are only in action today against ZPC Kariba on Rufaro, and the couple Bulawayo Chiefs and Nichrut who fought a 1-1 tie yesterday in their relegation against Luveve.
Dynamos with 31 points now record the last of the relegation slots in the 18-team log.
The Harare giants, who fell 2-0 on Saturday with leaders Platinum Platinum in Mandava, have flirted most of the campaign campaign with relegation, leading to the club chefs who have sacrificed coach Lloyd Mutasa when they were looking for answers to their misery.
The order of yesterday's results did not grant Dynamos any favor, because it occupied the last place in the drop zone, because they have lost 11 of their 28 games so far.
While the pressure on them continues to increase, Dynamos know that they now have to win the game they hold over their co-control candidates – a tough Harare derby against CAPS United who has had several reasons for postponement.
But in yesterday's game at Ascot, Shabanie, who had a meager 18 points, included their hosts early in the game and restricted Chapungu to long-range shots that were often quirky.
It was after the second half of the introduction of veteran striker Phillip Marufu who helped to unlock the Shabanie defense with the former Dynamos man who made a direct impact when cutting the ball in the path of Jam that low shot outside the sixteen flew in the sixteen.
Dhlakama claimed that his men would not be relegated, but insisted that the work was far from finished.
"We do not have to get carried away by this victory, if we lose our next game and win other teams in the relegation zone, then maybe we'll go down.
"As I said, we will not degrade, but we have to keep working hard, there are difficult games and we just have to remain focused," Dhlakama said.
"We were playing a derby and the world about this type of competition is always difficult.
"It was a difficult game for us, but I am very happy that we have all three points and the boys have shown that they can handle the pressure when we go to the last races of the season," said Dhlakama.
Shabanie arrived 30 minutes before the kickoff in Ascot and coach Alexio Sigion thinks that this could also have largely contributed to their downfall.
"The problem of relegation is no longer in our hands, we just have to push hard and hope that other teams lose over us, so that we can survive, but as a team we have to work hard.
"We did not have enough time to warm up, but that is no excuse for this loss, but what I want to say is that if we had managed to get more time for the warm-up, the players would have been better prepared, "Sigion said.
Chapungu: T. Shumba, E. Chitauro, H. Mugoniwa, C. Kwaramba, B. Mbavarira, J. Jam, E. Muzanenhamo, I. Nyoni, O. Mukuradare (A. Tavarwisa, 47th min), R. Manuvire (P. Marufu 61 minute), C. Rupiya (E. Chirape, 89th minute)
Shabanie Mine: B. Temera, P. Muzondo, N. Mpofu, B. Mukundu, F. Muza, R. Sibanda, W. Kahuni (P. Siziba, 68th minute), J. Sibanda, D. Taderera, T. Dhlakama (N. Papias 51st minute), R. Pakamisa.