CHICKEN INN . . . (2) 3
BLACK RHINOS . . . 0
A first half brace by Bhekimpilo “Barca” Ncube added to Black Rhinos’ woes as they suffered their third defeat in a row, losing to Chicken Inn at Hartsfield yesterday as the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League relegation battles rage on.
The army side remained on position 13 with 27 points but coach Jostein Mathuthu said he believes they will survive the chop in the last five matches as they head back home for Hwange in their next assignment.
Ncube got the first goal in the 29th minute, beating goalkeeper Samuel Mafukidze with his weaker right foot after beating two defenders inside the penalty box.
He then connected a Clemence Matawu cross in the 38th minute with the unusual right foot again inside the box right under the nose of defender Bruce Homora.
Despite the defeat, Mathuthu says Black Rhinos will survive relegation, blaming the defeat on poor defending and lack of concentration by goalkeeper Mafukidze, who was pulled out for reigning goalkeeper of the year Herbert Rusawo.
“This puts us in a very difficult position. We need to work hard before it gets too late. We are now living very dangerously and we need to address that as quickly as possible. The relegation fight is intensifying but mark my words; we will survive,” Mathuthu said.
After Hwange, Black Rhinos head to bottom-of-the-table Chiredzi before Shabanie Mine, who are also not safe before finishing off with Chapungu and Bantu Rovers.
Chicken Inn remained on position seven with 37 points and appear to be out of the woods before their next tough assignment against city neighbours Highlanders back at Hiartsfield.
Coach Joey Antipas said his boys were composed, which is good for the future and applauded Ncube for the two goals although they lapsed in the second half.
“It’s a welcome three points and it takes the pressure away from us but the struggle continues. Bheki is a workhorse and a quality player and he gives the team a good balance. This is good for the future,” Antipas said.
After Highlanders, Chicken Inn are at Hartsfields again against Triangle before hitting the road to Mandava for FC Platinum. They will end the season with Buffaloes and Harare City.