RELEGATION-threatened Hwange kept alive their chances of survival after collecting maximum points against 10-man How Mine at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
BY SAKHELENI NXUMALO
How Mine …….. 0
Hwange ….. …. (0) 1
A late Crispen Dickson penalty earned the visitors a crucial victory in their quest to avoid the chop as they took their points tally to 29, which is within touching distance of the teams above them.
Hwange are third from bottom and trail fellow relegation candidates Shabanie Mine by two points, while above the drop zone Bulawayo City are on 32 points, Yadah on 33 points, Harare City on 34 points while Chapungu and Triangle have 36 points apiece.
Yesterday’s victory left Hwange coach Bigboy Mawiwi a very happy man and he expressed optimism that the win away from home would prove to be a confidence booster for his charges.
“I am very happy with this win as we have been working very hard but an away victory has been elusive in the past and hopefully it will give us confidence in our next assignment on Wednesday,” Mawiwi said.
“We really needed these points and we are focused but will remain level-headed.”
His How Mine counterpart Kelvin Kaindu expressed disappointment over the way his team played yesterday, but said he was also disturbed by accusations that his players levelled at match referee Thembinkosi Sibanda following his decision to award the visitors a penalty.
“It was a difficult game and today nothing seemed to work for us. We thought we had a bad first half but it turned out that the second half was even worse and at the end of the day, we gave away three points at home,” Kaindu said.
“What is disappointing is to have players on the field accusing a match official of instructing opposition players to get into the box so that he will give a penalty and then something extraordinary like that happens and there is a penalty. It makes you wonder, although for now it is just the word of the player against that of the referee.”
The referee awarded the visitors the penalty after ruling that How Mine’s Zambian defender Makundika Sakala had fouled Hwange striker Justine Kaunda inside the penalty box with less than five minutes left on the clock.
And in the ensuing melee as the How Mine players protested the decision, the referee expelled How Mine midfielder Pasca Manhanga, but former Warriors player Milton Ncube, who is alleged to have accused the match official of instructing a Hwange player to get into the box, was allowed to finish the match.
The hosts are understood to have later lodged an official complaint with match commissioner Israel Mugwagwa.
How Mine: F Sibanda, P Tonha, B Mbiriri, M Sakala, F Makarati, M Ncube, P Moyo, T Makanda (T Banda 58’), P Manhanga , K Musharu (B Banda), T Chanengeta (A Muganyi 51’).
Hwange: C Phiri, K Matake, C Dickson, G Ndlovu, M Mekiwa, A Chuma, C Muleya, A Banda (S Gadzikwa 63’ E Meleka 90’+), N Ziwini, D Murimba (C Muvuti 59’), J Kaunda.