BASEMENT side Bantu Rovers became the first to be relegated from the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League this season following a heavy defeat against Harare City at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Harare City (2) 5
Bantu Rovers (0) 0
Speedy striker Martin Vengesai scored at the end of each half to complete a deserved brace, with Wilfred Muvirimi, Tinashe Balakasi and Edwin Madhanhanga also getting on the score sheet.
With just 13 points, Bantu needed nothing short of victory to retain a mathematical chance of surviving relegation.
They can now reach the 31 point mark with wins in their last six matches and still get relegated.
Team manager Agent Sawu refused to comment on his team’s relegation.
“I can’t comment on that; like I said, we still have six more games to go and our target is 18 points,” he told reporters.
“I am disappointed with the way we conceded soft goals but it’s work in progress and as you know, we are a development side. We had six Under-18 players who played today so it was too much, but it’s a work in progress.”
After a season in the premiership, Bantu will be remembered for sticking to youth throughout the season and even fielded a 15-year-old Sibusiso Moyo in some of their matches.
Although one could tell that this was the day Bantu Rovers were going to sink, they had ridden on some kind of luck earlier on.
Harare City had a goal disallowed in the 19th minute when Elton Sibanda fumbled a Madhanhanga shot which was bundled home by Roy Uchena, but the referee blew his whistle and signalled a foul on Sibanda.
Bantu continued to live a charmed life when an opportunistic strike by Wilfred Muvirimi on the half mark cannoned off the upright post.
Two minutes later, Muvirimi came good for the hosts, this time epitomising composure to control and coolly slot home a brilliant Takudzwa Chimwemwe cross.
The goal seemed to have shaken the Bantu players as they continued to make mistake after mistake.
Martin Vengesai beat the halftime whistle as he turned home a loose ball from close range.
Substitute Tinashe Balakasi made it three with 12 minutes left on the clock, capitalising on an initial Sibanda block to poke in from inside the six yard box.
There was still time for yet another goal and it was Vengesai who completed his double late on.
Madhanhanga made it five with a goal from range to seal Bantu Rovers’ fate.
Harare City coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube was happy with the victory as it eased his team’s relegation woes.
“For 24 hours this win takes the relegation pressure off us. We have to keep on fighting, the objective is still survival and the way we converted chances today gives us confidence,” Ncube said.
Meanwhile, in an exciting six goal thriller at the National Sports Stadium, Yadah FC wasted a two goal lead to draw 3-3 with Black Rhinos and remain in danger of being relegated at the end of the season.
Harare City: T Munditi, T Samanja (P Mpelele 80’), H Chapusha, M Vengesai, W Ndiweni, R Uchena, E Madhanhanga, W Manondo, T Chimwemwe, W Muvirimi (I Balakasi 66’), P Kabwe (T Tumba 72’)
Bantu Rovers: E Sibanda, K Dzingwe, S Nyahwa, D Ndlovu, N Garayi, T Kumbuyani, L Ndlela, M Chitembwe, M Ncube (R Masuku 47’), M Dube (G Bharibhari 74’), B Ncube (N Papias 57’)