Bantu falter at final hurdle

BULAWAYO - Bantu Rovers failed in their bid to win promotion back into the Castle premiership after suffering a shock defeat to lowly Rufaro Rovers here yesterday.

The defeat handed the Southern Region Division One league title to How Mine after the gold miners edged police outfit Black Boots 1-0 across town at Fairbridge.

A disappointed Bantu Rovers owner Methembe Ndlovu conceded his team’s failure to convert their dominance cost them the championship.

“It’s unfortunate because we controlled the game but failed to take our chances and I would like to say congratulations to whoever has won the championship,” Ndlovu said.

How Mine finished the season on 65 points, one point ahead of second-placed ZPC Hwange who clobbered Projects 10 -0 in a Hwange derby.

Bantu Rovers, who went into the weekend as the hot favourites to win promotion, finished in third place with 63 points.

How Mine join Tripple B, Black Rhinos and Triangle as the teams to win promotion into the Castle Premiership.

Tshintsha Guluva have themselves to blame for failing to bury the chances that came their way especially in the first half when their attackers took turns to miss gilt-edged chances.

Luck was also not on their side as veteran midfielder Johannes Ngodzo did manage to beat the visitors’ goalkeeper Bornface Ndlovu but his effort cannoned off the upright and back into play.

Bantu were left to rue all the chances they blew in the first half when Rufaro Rovers striker James Chikwenga’s shot at goal took a wicked deflection off Bantu central defender Teenage Hadebe and flew past Bantu keeper Takunda Mutanga for the only goal of the match on 46 minutes.

The introduction of Kevin “Scopo” Sibanda for Crispen Ncube brought some sense of urgency into the home side’s play but Rufaro held on for a crucial victory that ensured their survival in the first division.

Rufaro’s win condemned Zimbabwe Saints to playing in the second division next season after the Hwange side leapfrogged the fallen giants of Zimbabwean football to escape relegation. - Sakheleni Nxumalo

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