Relegation battles intensifies

THE battle to survive relegation from the Castle Lager Premiership continues this weekend with at least nine teams still not yet safe.

From ninth place occupied by Chapungu down to 17th place where there is Tsholotsho, none of the teams are guaranteed they will be playing Premiership football next season.

Some of those teams include Black Rhinos, Triangle, Harare City, Bulawayo City, Yadah FC and Hwange.

Bantu Rovers are the only team that has been relegated from the top flight with at least three more set to join them in Division One next year.

Of those nine teams still tangled in the relegation fight, Tsholotsho get the ball rolling this afternoon when they take on title-chasing Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium.

Darlington Dodo’s side are just one place off the bottom with 24 points with only four games to go before the season ends.
Tsholotsho need maximum points this afternoon or else they will be relegated after two years in the top flight.

Tomorrow, 14th placed Yadah hosts 13th placed Bulawayo City in a relegation battle which both sides cannot afford to lose.
Both sides come into the match on the back of defeats and another loss tomorrow could spell doom.

Across town, there is another relegation three-pointer on between Black Rhinos and Shabanie Mine at Rufaro Stadium.

Rhinos started the season in fine form and at one stage topped the log but Stanford “Stix” Mutizwa’s side has dropped down to 10th place with 38 points.

Shabanie also started the season on a good note but due to their precarious financial situation, fighting relegation was always going to be inevitable.

The Chinda Boys are currently in 15th place with 32 points and need to win all their remaining four matches to avoid the drop.
 On Sunday, 11th placed Triangle hosts Harare City, who are just a single place below them on the log.

Both teams have the financial muscle to be challenging for honours but find themselves fighting to stay in the division.
With four matches left before the season ends Harare City coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube urged his players to “rise to the challenge” as they seek a dramatic escape from relegation.

“Both teams are fighting relegation and it’s going to be an interesting match,” Ncube told the Weekend Post.
“We are prepared for the game. We know at this stage of the season a lot of things happens but we are ready as Harare City. This is the game that could make our life easier. 

“The boys need no extra motivation; they know what is expected of them. They all know we are sitting at a precarious position and they are geared to go and perform well. We are going to Triangle with one thing in mind of collecting maximum points.
“We are not going there to defend but to attack and we are looking forward to a good game. 

“We would want to take it from where we left in our previous matches. For us at this stage of the season every point counts.”
 Hwange, who are in 16th place with 31 points are at home to Highlanders at the Colliery on Sunday.

The coal miners blew a golden chance to move out of the relegation zone when they drew 1-1 with CAPS United last weekend but their coach Bigboy Mawiwi still beleives.

“We remain focused, we continue fighting,” Mawiwi said. “We have got the confidence and there are still 12 points to fight for; we will see what happens.

 “I’m confident that we can still survive relegation. We have the confidence and the players to do the job. We are not even worried at all.

“We just need to work hard in our remaining matches. We need to quickly forget about this result and focus on our next match which is against Highlanders.”
—Godknows Matarutse

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