Superstition reigns supreme as title race hots up

HARARE - When the going gets tough, the more the superstitious beliefs among Castle Lager Premiership football teams come to the fore.

The league title race is now set to go to the wire as there are four teams — Ngezi platinum Stars, FC Platinum, Dynamos and Chicken Inn — still in with a chance of clinching the championship.

With only three games to go before the season ends, Ngezi sit top courtesy of a superior goal difference ahead of second-placed FC Platinum as both sides are tied on 63 points.

Dynamos are in third place with 61 points while Chicken Inn are fourth with 59 points.

However, it seems juju is now taking centre stage as the title-chasing teams seek an edge to land the coveted crown.

A week ago, there was drama and violence at Baobab Stadium in the match pitting Ngezi Platinum and Dynamos.

Before the start of the match, both sets of technical teams clashed on the pitch as DeMbare coach Lloyd Mutasa and goalkeepers’ coach Zondai Nyaungwa sprinkled salt and ‘‘holy’’ water on the pitch.

This did not go down well with the Ngezi assistant coach Clifton Kadurira and goalkeepers’ coach Gift Muzadzi, who confronted their counterparts.

When the match started, it was the turn of the Ngezi ball boy to spark a pitch invasion after kicking a ball into the DeMbare net during a stoppage.

Last Sunday, Nyaungwa was again in the thick of things during DeMbare’s slender 1-0 win over Chapungu at the National Sports Stadium.

The former DeMbare goalkeeper dashed to the changing rooms where he returned with a bottle filled with some liquid suspected to be urine which he threw into the Chapungu goal.

A Chapungu official ran to the pitch and removed the bottle.

Earlier at the start of the second half, Chapungu substitute Lloyd Gwerina went behind the Dynamos goal and was mobbed by the home side’s players before being escorted back to the bench with Dynamos manager Richard Chihoro also joining the melee.

Kudzai Dhemhere, introduced in the 67th minute for Gift Saunyama, was given a ball to throw into the Chapungu goal after play had been stopped.

But the visitors were alert to block the ball from hitting the back of the net.

In the end, DeMbare substitute Quality Kangadze scored a last minute winner in that same goal where all the drama had taken place.

Nyaungwa could be seen beating his chest in a weird celebration as if to suggest that he was the one who came in with the Midas touch that resulted in Kangadze heading in a wonderful goal from a Christian Ntouba cross.

Chapungu coach Tendai Chikuni was disappointed with the way the match officials had handled the encounter.

“I will never budge, I want to coach football, and I want to develop players. That’s why I’m playing youngsters,” Chikuni said.

“Let a team win fairly, let’s not disadvantage small teams; that’s what I’m talking about because this is all about football.

“After Dynamos got that goal, match balls started to disappear and we remained with only one ball.

“The coach even went on to the pitch and he wasn’t cautioned...in which world in football can we talk of a coach getting onto the field of play without being sent off? It is only here in Zimbabwe where I have seen this.”

Mutasa was, however, not fazed by the criticism from his opposite number saying his side was only concerned by picking up three points.

“The belief is there (to win the league) and the good part is that the two teams (Ngezi and FC Platinum) are going to play against each other,” he said.

“We would want to see the outcome obviously the other one if not both of them are bound to lose points but what we are saying as an institution is let’s try to work hard, get maximum points and see where that will take us to.”

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