The Herald (Harare)

19 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Black Mambas Escape Hangman's Noose

Zvishavane — BLACK Mambas survived relegation in style when they handed FC Platinum their heaviest defeat of the season in a Castle Lager league match at Mandava yesterday.

With the curtain coming down on the season yesterday both Mambas and Gunners who were tied on points needed not only maximum points but more goals to remain part of the Premiership next year.

In the end it was Warumwa Warumwa who reserved their venom for the last day with a big enough bite that guaranteed them survival.

The Mambas against FC Platinum tie had also attracted interest far away in the capital where gunners were hosting Chicken Inn at Lafarge.

Things looked brighter for Gunners as they were playing at home and when the police side found themselves trailing FC Platinum as early as the ninth minute through a goal from Mitchell Katsvairo, it seemed Mambas' hopes were fading away.

Donald Ngoma won the ball outside the centre circle and raced towards the Mambas half fouling Sam Mutenheri in the process before passing the ball to the on rushing Katsvairo whose clinical finish beat goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga.

The goal silenced the vociferous Shabanie and Dynamos fans who always form an ally with visitors fans each time FC Platinum will be playing at home.

Mambas were to suffer another scare when Mateyaunga in a moment of madness came out of his line in a bid to clear but missed the ball and instead fouled Katsvairo when he gave him a double kick with both legs in the abdomen.

His antics could have left karatekas with envy and instead of being shown a red card Bulawayo based referee Brighton Mlandule was however, lenient as he flashed the yellow card in the 22nd minute.

Mambas then woke up from the slumber a found an equaliser moments later.

A corner kick from the right by Nicholas Alufandika was headed by Last Chibwiro and went past goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube.

Such was the power behind the header that even though Dube had a touch to the ball, he could not stop it from going in.

Seven minutes later Mambas found themselves in the driving seat when Chibwiro completed a brace.

Partson Muswere the Mambas right back flighted a corner kick from the left and Chibwiro's header whistled past Dube.

Mambas who were the more composed side increased their lead in the 32nd minute.

A long ball was flighted in the miners' area and with their defenders hesitant to clear the alert Godknows Mangani released a screamer that Dube only managed to retrieve from the back of the nets.

Some angry fans who could easily see that a defeat was looming nearly manhandled coach Tendai Chikuni on his way to the dressing rooms.

FC Platinum's supporters were hoping for a victory that would see their team finish ahead of their hometown rivals Shabanie Mine.

Mangani won the ball on the right and sped down the flank before squaring the ball to Chibwiro whose scorcher was parried back into play by Dube but into the path of former Alfandika who made no mstake from close range.

Ali Sadiki nearly reduced the arrears in the 81st minute when he let go a screamer that hit the crossbar with Mateyaunga a mere spectator but there was no green shirt in sight to drill the ball home.

Katsvairo was then gifted with a goal in the 83rd minute.

A long clearance by Platinum saw the hard running striker beating Chikweva for pace and when Mateyaunga came out of his line the former Gunners striker directed the ball into the empty net.

Platinum were out of sorts and their team lacked the fighting spirit. Zephaniah Ngodzo who seemed injured was later substituted for Norman Togara as was the injured Daniel Veremu.

A number of fans demanded the coach's head and questioned the manner in which their team collapsed to their frst hoime defeat this year.

"Mambas were hungry and they were a better team than us as they were fighting relegation. I can't say much and things were probably going to be worse had I fielded juniors whom I wanted to prepare for next season," said Chikuni.

Mamba's assistant coach Martin Bonyongwe was in cloud nine after the match.

"We are very excited and we praise God for the victory. I give credit to the players, executive, fans and our sponsors BancABC because without them we could not have achieved this. It is very difficult to come out of the lion's den with maximum points," said Bonyongwe.

TEAMS:

FC Platinum: T Dube, D Veremu (A Sadiki 60th), Q Amin, W Manondo (A Gahadzikwa 48th), A Sadiki, D Ngoma, T Kamusoko, C Sibanda, J Ngodzo, M Katsvairo, R Muduviwa, Z Ngodzo (N Togara 39th)

Black Mambas: T Mateyaunga, S Mutenheri, G Chikweva, N Alifandika (T Rantokoane 78th), C Hungwe, K Kapikinyu, H Chimutimunzeve (E Chitato 85th), G Mangani, L Chibwiro, P Madziro, T Muswere, D Nyoni.

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