HARARE – Newly-crowned Northern Region Soccer League (NRSL) Division One champions Black Rhinos are delighted to be back in the Castle Premiership next year after sealing promotion at the weekend.
The army side beat ZPC Kariba 1-0 at One Commando on Saturday to amass an unassailable 62 point mark, 17 ahead of second-placed DStv Rangers, with three games to go before the season ends.
“We are very happy to have won promotion because the generals wanted their team back in the top flight league,” coach Nesbert Saruchera told the Daily News yesterday.
“This team does not belong in the lower leagues. We are big team and we deserve to be playing with the big boys in the Premiership.”
The soldiers were relegated from the top flight at the end of the 2009 season together with Underhill, Njube Sundowns and Highway.
It has been a frustrating stay in the second tier league for Rhinos, watching Blue Rangers and Harare City gain promotion ahead of them in the two previous seasons.
Saruchera paid tribute to the Rhinos family for working together to ensure the one-time Zimbabwe champions swim with the big boys again.
“We would like to thank our sponsors Savannah Tobacco, who have been with us for this season and all the players for the effort they put in to achieve this success,” he said.
“The club’s executive also worked hard to see that the team regained its glory days in this tough economic environment.”
Saruchera added: “We used a pool of about 15 players this season. We didn’t change our team very much. Brighton Chandisaita, Shadreck Jimu and goalkeeper Brito Gwere were solid at the back.
“In midfield, Wilson Chakanyuka and Walter Masenda were also outstanding while upfront Lazarus Muhoni has been the league’s top goal-scorer with 14 goals so far.”
Saruchera also praised new boys Martin Mine, who joined from Mwana Africa, and Lot Chiwunga, who was on the books of the defunct Laliga last season.
As for next season, Saruchera said: “We have a very strong and balanced side made up of some experienced guys and exciting youngsters. We will only add one or two players. We are not looking to make wholesale changes to the squad we have.”
Rhinos will play Banket Mine, Scotia and Skylink in their remaining three matches.
Saruchera said his team is determined to finish the season with a bang by win all three matches.