Just before kick-off time, marshals at entry points struggle to control the increasingly impatient fans, jostling to catch the first whistle.
This is just a snapshot of Chiredzi’s tension-packed derby clash between Triangle and Hippo Valley in a league encounter.
And Chiredzi soccer fans are in for an appetising football treat come next season. Both teams, owned by the sugar producing company Tongaat Hullet Zimbabwe, will play in the country’s top-flight football next season, with Hippo Valley having been off the radar since independence.
While Triangle has tasted PSL action in the past two seasons, their close rivals boast abundant talent in their youngsters, who still have many years on their careers and are hungry to play for their county.
Hippo Valley chairman Tarisai Mudambanuki described it as a “dream come true” for his side to gain promotion ahead of fierce challengers Mutare City Rovers.
“We were serious with our football. We had prepared very well to be in the premiership. We are happy that we have fulfilled our goal. I am also happy that we have two resident premiership teams and football is the only major recreation facility in this small township,” said Mudambanuki.
“I want to thank our fans, who have supported our team with passion. The attendance figures have been excellent, despite the fact we were playing division one football.”
“There was unity in the management, technical department and the players. We are happy that we have not let down our fans, who rallied behind us,” said Moses ‘Bambo’ Chunga, the team’s coach.
“Though we were on top for the greater part of the season, I reminded my players that we should not regard ourselves as favourites to win the ticket into the premier league. I always told them that we were competing with others teams and that really helped.”
Hippo Valley Supporters’ Association committee member Silas Chikati said his side has been closer to the title before.
“For the past few years, we cameclose and ended as runners-up. Two years ago, we came second to Buffalos and it was painful. We were runners-up to Triangle as well, so l had every reason to believe that this was our year.”
Hippo Valley has some experienced legs in their ranks, including those of Rowan Nenzou, Fidelis Mangezi and Tapiwa Depistara.Post published in: Football