HARARE – Black Rhinos survived relegation from the Castle Premiership on the last day of the season after beating Division One-bound Monomotapa 1-0 at Gwanzura Stadium on Sunday.
Lot Chiunga’s first half strike was all Rhinos needed to escape the hangman’s noose.
With the curtain coming down on the season yesterday, Rhinos, Black Mambas, Buffaloes, Hwange, Shabanie Mine were all not safe and needed not only maximum points but results elsewhere not to go against them to survive the chop.
Rhinos, who began the day in the last relegation slot with 37 points, played their part by defeating a plucky Monoz to finish the season in 10th place with 40 points.
After the match Rhinos coach Arthur Tutani was on cloud nine and praised his players for showing determination.
“We are very excited and we praise God for the victory. I give credit to the players, our executive and the fans,” said Tutani.
“This year we were learning and for next year we are going to fight for the glory and nothing can stop us because we have a good team.”
His opposite number Biggie Zuze said: “My boys failed to utilise their chances in the first half but I give credit to Black Rhinos for a good game.
“As for my future I am going to decide next season, we had the mandate to save our team from relegation, we have tried our best, but we were facing financial problems.”
The match started off on a fairly balanced note with the home side looking for an early goal.
The best chance for Monomotapa came after 12 minutes when Ronald Chitiyo subtracted a number of Rhinos defenders and let fly a shot that brought the best out of goalkeeper Herbert Rusawo.
Black Rhinos raced into the lead in the 42th minute when Chiunga raced from a deep midfield position to get onto a long ball before beating the Monomotapa keeper Tapiwa Zvaita.
After the break, the disappointing Philip Marufu failed to do justice to a through ball from Chiunga and allowed Zvaita to save.
In another match, Hwange beat already relegated Motor Action 1-0 at the Colliery thanks to an Isaac Masame goal.