BULAWAYO – Chicken Inn revived their Castle Lager Premiership title hopes with a slender victory yesterday which painfully relegated Tsholotsho.
The victory, which came courtesy of Passmore Bernard’s first half goal, that lifted Rahman Gumbo’s side into third place with 59 points from 31 matches and now trail log leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars and second-placed FC Platinum, by a single point with three games to go before the curtain comes down on the season.
FC Platinum, however, have a chance to go top when they take on ZPC Kariba at Mandava Stadium this afternoon while Ngezi are away to Bantu Rovers tomorrow at Luveve Stadium.
As for Tsholotsho, they will be playing in the Zifa Southern Region Division One league next season as they remain in 17th place with 24 points.
With three games to go, Darlington Dodo’s side can only get to 33 points which will not be enough for them to get out of the relegation zone.
After the match, Dodo was disappointed with the outcome which condemned his side to the second tier for next season.
The former Gunners coach feels travelling long distances was their Achilles heel.
“I think our approach to the game was not up to scratch, we were a bit subdued. When playing a team like Chicken Inn you have to fight,” Dodo said.
“It’s very unfortunate no one really looked at these boys at the beginning of the season but they are a team that can beat any team in the league.
“There is a lot of talent that teams can take; all the players are good enough to play in the Premier League.
“Travelling has been too much and it contributed a lot in the downfall of the team. Playing in Beitbridge was not logical.”
As has been the norm in recent weeks, Gumbo failed to turn up for his mandatory post match press conference and the Gamecocks are likely to face a heavy fine from the league for his behaviour.
The match started off on a high tempo with both teams pressing high to try and create some scoring chances.
It was evident that the Gamecocks wanted to close the gap on the log leaders while Tsholotsho clearly wanted to escape the chop.
Chicken Inn broke the deadlock five minutes before halftime when Bernard hit a scorcher that beat visitors’ goalkeeper Mariyon Chang from just inside the box.
In the second half, the tempo of the match dropped a little bit.
George Majika almost scored the second for the Gamecocks 15 minutes before full time but his shot from outside the box was punched out for a corner by Chang.
Tsholotsho desperately tried to come back into the match to try and fight against relegation another day but they failed to break the Gamecocks defence.
Chicken Inn: Elvis Chipezeze, Passmore Bernard, Divine Lunga, Thabani Goredema, Moses Jackson, Clemence Matawu, Ben Nyahunzvi, Innocent Muchaneka (Brian Juru 57m), George Majika, Blessing Sibanda (Christopher Samakweri 76m), Obidiah Tarumbwa (Ismael Lawe 57m)
Tsholotsho: Mariyon Chang, Trust Nyabinde, Bruno Madanhire, Xolani Ndlovu, Marshal Phiri, Tatenda Tavengwa, Sherpard Mhlanga, Marlon Mushonga, Ayanda Ncube (Canaan Nkomo 56m), Lucky Nyathi (Thabani Moyo 74m), Nqobile Mpala (Nixon Gama 62m).