Confident Eastern Lions soldier on

MUTARE - Established in 2005 from the ashes of Nyika United, the Manicaland- based side fought their way into the country's premier soccer league in 2007 together escaping from the jaws of relegation and continuing to soldier on this year.

Affectionately known as the Ngoda boys -a term used for diamonds- Eastern Lions was born when a Mutare business man, Lazarus Mungwari, bought Nyika United’s franchise in the first half of the 2005 division one season. They rose from a troubled Nyika United teetering on the verge of relegation to win the championship in 2006.

According to the club spokesperson, Milton Ngwede, the technical team and the players worked tirelessly to avoid relegation into division two. Nyika United left the Ngoda boys in a sea of troubles, having drew four matches and lost seven.

“We give much credit to the coach Brena Musiska and the executive team which was then chaired by Francis Mabika. They worked together and not only did they save the team from relegation into division two, but progressed to a much higher level,” said Ngwede.

The 2007 PSL debutants “faced a major challenge of player motivation to perform to the community’s expectations” but the debut match seemed to have done the trick in triggering confidence in the inexperienced youngsters.

Eastern Lions won their first match against the Harare giants, Dynamos, 1-0 much to the delight of its followers at Sakubva stadium.

“That first victory against Dynamos was what the team needed for a moral booster. We have never lost at Sakubva stadium and we want to maintain that record,” boasted Ngwede.

The Ngoda boys were joined by national team assistant coach, Ephraim Masakure in the 2008 season. Masakure stand in as Musiska’s assistant. The Club acquired players such as Eusebio Manuwere (from Gunners), Tapiwa Mafunga (Zim Alloy), Nesbert Zvakare (Masvingo United) to complement the young players groomed from the lower league.

Eastern Lions finished at number 13 in the 16 team premier league last year, surviving from the machete of relegation. But the battle continues as the ghost of demotion continues to haunt them in the 2008 season.

The Manicaland team won just one match against Lancashire Steel from the five they played so far. Two were draws against Dynamos and Chapungu and two loses at the hands of Caps United and F.C.

The Ngoda boys are set to clash with the Bulawayo giants, Highlanders, in a CBZ premier soccer league match at Mutare’s Sakubva stadium, next week.

Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News

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