Ray Bande Senior Reporter
THE fires of relegation are getting hot with each passing week but 21-year old Mutare City Rovers’ defence lynchpin Lincoln Mangaira believes his team only needs to collect maximum points in all remaining four home matches and secure at least two away draws to secure another dance among the big boys of domestic football.
Mangaira, who had a good outing in Wednesday’s rescheduled fixture against Highlanders at Vengere Stadium in Rusape, which City Rovers won by a solitary goal, has played all but two of his team’s league matches this season and at 21, the youngster has shown great promise as he fitted well into the heart of the municipality owned outfit.
Rovers will now face Black Rhinos on Sunday away from home and square off against ZPC Kariba at Vengere Stadium in their next home match before engaging Triangle away at Gibbo Stadium.
Gusha Bhora will then entertain CAPS United at Vengere Stadium before they face Dynamos away in Harare.
In the last three league matches, Mutare City Rovers will play against Yadah Stars (home), Herentals (away) before wrapping up the season with a date against Bulawayo City at Vengere Stadium.
“I think we still have a good chance to survive relegation. Yes, it will not be easy as most of the teams in the relegation zone also entertain hopes of surviving but I think we only need to make sure we collect maximum points in all remaining home matches and secure at least two away draws.
“If we manage that feat we are home and dry. It is fact that at this stage of the season, every other team wants maximum points but we have been playing well of late and all things being equal we should be still playing top flight football next season,” said Mangaira.
Fitting in the big shoes of departed former Soccer Star of the Year finalist Themba Ndlovu at Mutare City Rovers could have been a mammoth task even for an experienced pair of legs but Mangaira has proved to be the next big thing to emerge from the dusty streets of Dangamvura.
Gifted with fine ball control, agility and steadiness, Mangaira has fitted well in the heart of Gusha Bhora defence where he has become a vital cog in the Gusha Bhora backline.
The former Dangamvura High School student, who partnered well with Gift Jimu in Mutare City Rovers central defence mid last season, has combined well this season with Piniel Gumbo, Kelvin Bingala and Takunda Jefrey even in some of the matches that needlessly ended up dropping points.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday at Vengere, Highlanders’ coach Madinda Ndlovu’s conduct was a bad advert to the beautiful of football when he kept protesting against every other decision by the match officials throughout the entertaining Castle Lager Premiership encounter.
It was not surprising when Ndlovu, who literally chose to monitor the performance of the referees instead of his team given his touchline antics throughout the match, was a bundle of emotions after the final whistle as he denied granting media personnel a post match interview.
“I have nothing to say to you. You can get a better comment from the referees. The referees will have a comprehensive comment for you. This was pathetic match officiating,” said Ndlovu in a tirade that lasted for a few minutes as he walked away.
But Tshilamoya, who won 3-0 against Dynamos in a match played at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday and had only one day to prepare for Wednesday’s encounter, were their worst enemies especially given their lack of precision in front of goal.
When the referee blew the final whistle, the Bulawayo giants became the latest addition to a list of highly rated teams like Ngezi Platinum, who fell at the hands of the struggling Eastern Highlands team in fortress Vengere.