Shabanie on cloud nine

HARARE - The Castle Lager Premiership always comes with a promise of surprises on the cards, but nobody thought the greatest shock would be delivered only in the second week.

When Shabanie Mine won promotion for a return to the topflight last year, predictions flew all over and very few gave them a chance to compete with the big boys let alone surviving relegation.

Those who had written off the Chinda Boys before the season even started could have been understood as the team is faced with a series of momentous problems ranging from finances to even attracting quality players into their ranks.

The asbestos miners had a shambolic pre-season as Tendai Chikuni, who had won them promotion from the second tier, quickly dumped them for the less stressful environs of Gweru with Chapungu.

Finding a replacement for Chikuni also proved tricky as the club’s first choice Mandla Mpofu was snapped up right before their noses by the more financially stable Bulawayo City.

In the end, the club had to appoint Taku Shariwa, who had showed his tactical acumen with relegated Mutare City Rovers last season.

However, there was another snag as Shariwa did not possess the necessary Caf A licence which is required by the Zimbabwe Football Association for all Premiership coaches.

The Chinda Boys were forced to bring in Wilson Mutekede while Shariwa was elevated to the post of technical manager.

However, despite all these problems Shabanie Mine still had their passionate fans, who always filled Maglas Stadium even when they were still in Division One.

The Bvaru-Bvaru faithful showed their true colours in the first game of the season when they turned up in large numbers as their side held out for goalless draw against defending champions CAPS United.

They were not given a chance at all despite even playing at home but in the end it was CAPS who were lucky to emerge with a draw as the home side created good scoring chances.

On Sunday, the Chinda Boys were in Bulawayo for a date against Highlanders, who finished third last season.

Shabanie once again proved the Doubting Thomases wrong as they stunned Barbourfields Stadium when Nelson Maziwisa scored late on to hand Bosso their first defeat of the season.

“It was indeed a difficult opening fixture for us facing reigning champions and Highlanders who finished third last season in our first two matches,” Shariwa told the Daily News.

“Credit must go to the players for showing a strong character. No one gave us a chance but the boys proved that they are ready to fight.”

Shariwa said they would not get carried away by their bright start and would have to stay grounded if they are to achieve their set targets of the season.

“For us these matches are already history and we need to start focusing on our next assignments,” Shariwa said.

“We just want to keep on collecting points. We know it will get tough as the season progresses but for us our goal remains to avoid relegation at the end of the season. Collecting four points against CAPS United and Highlanders can only give us satisfaction that we are in the right direction.”

In other matches, Ngezi Platinum Stars underlined their intentions following a massive 0-3 victory over Hwange away at the Colliery.

The win saw Ngezi register their second successive victory in as many matches following their opening 1-0 win against Black Rhinos last weekend.

Tonderai Ndiraya’s charges are taunted as one of the front-runners to win this year’s Castle Premiership title.    

At Gibbo Stadium, Dynamos threw away a two-goal lead to settle for a 2-2 draw against Triangle.

New signings Quality Kangadzi and Emmanuel Mandiranga were on target for the Glamour Boys while Lameck Nhamo and a Ronald Mudimu penalty kick salvaged a draw for Taurai Mangwiro.

Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa was left to ponder on his team’s lack of concentration in crucial moments of the game but is confident of a bright future.

“In terms of play and creating chances the boys did everything and could have even scored more goals,” Mutasa told the Daily News yesterday.

“I think our biggest letdown was the lapse in concentration which allowed Triangle to get two goals. But the performance by the boys was very encouraging and I can safely say the future is very bright for us.

“We just need to improve on certain areas and surely, we will get better as time goes on.”

Yadah FC also reminded most of the Premiership clubs that they are not here to add numbers but rather to compete after edging ZPC Kariba 1-0 to move to four points from their opening two matches.

The newboys created several scoring chances especially in the second half but despite not adding to their tally their coach Jairos Tapera was left a happy man.

“To us it’s a very important win, a win which we got after playing a seasoned team with a seasoned coach. Looking at how we performed in our last game and how we performed today (yesterday) I think we were so much organised defensively,” Tapera said.

“We gave these guys little space to operate. It was very unfortunate that we only scored one goal but I thought we could have added one or two. I am very happy with how the players are responding to our coaching methods on how we want to play.

“It’s very good winning this game. It’s history there is no doubt about that but we will have to forget it and look forward to our next match. So we will have to take each game as it comes and we will do the best to keep our feet on the ground.

FC Platinum maintained their one hundred percent to the start of the season after dispatching Bantu Rovers 3-2 at Maglas Stadium.

Norman Mapeza’s side are now tied up at the top with Ngezi Platinum Stars on six points from two games.

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