Can Hwange last the distance?

HARARE - No one  saw it coming, and most football enthusiasts are still astonished by Hwange’s flying start to the 2014 Castle Premiership season.

After only two games into the season, the coal miners find themselves on top of the log with a maximum of six points from a possible six.

They are the only team with a 100 percent record after plundering a total eight goals in those two matches.

Over the years, Hwange have made Colliery a punishing fortress for visiting teams.

It was their poor away record that led to them flirting with relegation towards the end of the season last year, before finishing in 10th place with 41 points.

Hwange were only two points above the last relegation slot and started this season with most pundits tipping them to be one of the early favourites to be in the relegation mix.

Nation Dube’s men opened their season with a 5-1 thumping of Buffaloes at the Colliery and this result did not appear out of the ordinary for many.

Last weekend, however, proved the Matabeleland outfit has a newly found resilience after emerging from Mandava Stadium with a 3-2 win over FC Platinum.

Thirty-five minutes into that match, Chipangano appeared to have been dead and buried when the home side raced into an early 2-0 lead courtesy of Mitchell Katsvairo and a penalty from Qadr Amini.

Hwange appeared for the second half a more aggressive and competitive, fast and physical; than they were in the first.

The miners were rewarded for the change in tempo as Aleck Marime pulled one back before Eric Chipeta levelled with a stupendous goal directly from a corner kick.

Marime completed his brace when he turned in Chipeta’s corner kick in the last minute of added time.

After the match Dube said: “Its work in progressing, we are building a team and we are taking each game as it comes.”

Although it is only two games into the season, the coal miners showed some signs that they could be strong contenders if they keep on working hard on the road like they did at Mandava.

It is still to be seen whether they can maintain that high tempo throughout the season. FC Platinum were rattled by the Hwange high pressing and could not get a foothold in that second half.

The other team that put on a good performance in the opening weekend but failed to live up to the billing this weekend was Chicken Inn.

Joey Antipas has assembled what looks like a decent squad at the Gamecocks and their 3-0 win over Harare City in the opening week showed their pedigree.

The Bulawayo side was brought down to earth by a 2-0 defeat to Buffaloes at Sakubva Stadium at the weekend.

Poor travels is also likely to hinder them.

To mount a serious title challenge, Antipas needs his team to go to places like Sakubva and emerge with maximum points.

Highlanders and CAPS United all picked up their first wins of the season by beating Shabanie Mine and Harare City respectively.

Comments (1)

tts the good way of surviving relegation.....cuim on chipangano

digz - 15 April 2014

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