Survival Sunday for Lengthens, Shooting Stars

HARARE - IT is a battle for survival for premiership sides Lengthens and Shooting Stars this afternoon as they face tricky ties that could condemn them to life in the unfashionable division one league.

Lengthens, beset by serious financial problems since the start of the season are swimming in the murky waters of relegation and will be hoping for an emphatic win against an Eagles team at Rufaro to remain with a chance of surviving the dreaded chop at the end of the campaign. The Happy People are placed on fourth position from the bottom with only 26 points from 28 matches and only a win against Eagles today can save their situation.

Coach Joesten Mathuthu appeared to surrender when contacted for comment by The Zimbabwean on Sunday. “It’s a very tough match for us. As you are aware there is low morale in the team because of finance problems. It’s hard to motivate players to play to their best level when they are faced with such a situation. We will try to go out there to play to win but to be honest with you the players are not motivated,”said Mathuthu.

Lengthens have been torn apart by inhouse bickering between directors of the team on who should sponsor the club. The directors are no longer coming to watch their team as they used to do and players are reported to have gone for months without being paid salaries and allowances. The Happy People also have another tough assignment to worry about — their final game of the season against log leaders Motor Action on December 19.

On the other hand Shooting Stars are also staring relegation in the face and could survive the chop if they win today’s match against former champions Monomotapa at Gwanzura. Stars are on fifth position from the bottom with only 29 points and need to win today to keep alive hopes of survival. They will be probably praying that Monomotapa, who are safe from relegation and are only fighting for a respectable finish, will not be as much driven for success in todays game.

However, Monoz coach Taurai Mangwiro said they were taking the match against Stars seriously and would not do any favours for them. “This match is very important for us as well because we have set ourselves a target to finish in the top four so we will not take lightly this contest. We will be out to bang maximum points,” he said. Meanwhile Douglas Warriors were effectively relegated to the unfashionable division one league on Wednesday after they were handed a comprehensive 4-0 defeat by Harare giants Dynamos.

The Warriors remained perched on third position from the bottom with a paltry 20 points from 29 matches and even if they win their remaining match of the season it will not save any purpose as they are already out of the elite league. The Warriors who won promotion last season join Methembe Ndlovu’s Bantu Rovers and FC Victoria into the second tier of the topflight league. Bantu and FC Victoria were sent packing last weekend and their remaining matches are now merely of academic interest.

But it is Douglas Tanyanyiwa’s side that will bid farewell to the elite league after winning promotion last term following a lengthy period in the Division One. A rare goal by defender George Magariro opened the Dynamos riot after just 10 minutes before a second half double by Evans Gwekwerere and Benjamin Mareres third sealed the fate for the Harare outfit. Interestingly Gwekwerere who was churned out from Douglas Warriors was the destroyer in chief-scoring twice to condemn his former team to life in the less glamorous league.

“This is not about where I came from because I am now at Dynamos and have a duty to score goals for the team. You don’t expect any favours because my bread is buttered at Dynamos and I want the team to win the league title. That’s the dream of every player,” commented Gwekwerere after the match.

Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News

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