CHEGUTU PIRATES 90 MINUTES AWAY
Veronica Gwaze in Chegutu
CHEGUTU Pirates are 90 minutes away from the Premier Soccer League after dethroning long-time leaders Black Mambas courtesy of a 1-0 win in a top-of-the-table Northern Region Division One league match at Pfupajena on Saturday.
After assuming leadership of the division, Chegutu Pirates still need victory this weekend when they face Herentals College Under-20 at Pfupajena to confirm their promotion into top flight.
At one stage the ticket for the Premier League was seemingly a battle between Black Mambas and Harare City but Chegutu Pirates stayed focused and consistently collected points while the leading duo took turns to drop them.
Black Mambas would have been promoted on Saturday had they won against Chegutu Pirates but they now go into the final weekend trailing by one point.
Chegutu Pirates will be well aware that they must win the final match as Black Mambas will be waiting to pounce on any slip up.
On Saturday, Pfupajena was packed as Chegutu fans confidently rallied their Pirates to a hard-fought victory against a Black Mambas side that would still have been happy with a draw.
Chegutu Pirates had to wait for the 61st minute to get the all-important goal through Gibson Gaison from close range off a brilliantly delivered corner-kick by Gift Mwenga.
Chegutu Pirates goalminder Tendai Charara was in fine form to take his tally to 26 clean sheets in 31 assignments.
Just as the match official blew the full time whistle, the fans ecstatically flooded the pitch, whistling and jostling in wild celebration.
“The atmosphere was tense in Chegutu since morning because this was a highly anticipated fixture but we had to stick to what we agreed on weeks ago,” revealed Cletus Zano, a member of the supporters’ committee.
“We wanted to prove to people out there that despite our dented reputation, we are not an uncontrollable lot.”
“If we win next week, it will be a moment of our lives because it will be the first time for our team to play in the PSL and we have been waiting for this for a long time,” said Maudy Manati, a supporter.
“I have attended all home games for three years now, it is our community team so this is more than just a game for us.
“The team has become the glue that binds the community together, this is a converging point for the hood where we also get to unwind and connect.”
Dendera Artist Sulumani Chimbetu, who is also part of the Chegutu farming community, was in attendance.
Black Mambas however, walked away a bitter lot.
“There were some moments during the match when we felt short changed but unfortunately we cannot challenge the referee’ s decision,” said a Black Mambas official.
“This is a game of football, we are still in the race so we hope they lose or draw in their final outing and we win to gain promotion.
“It was not our day, but we are happy because no matter how sensitive the situation became in some moments, there was no violence up to the end.”
Northern Region Division One Results
Banket United 0-2 Harare City; Chegutu Pirates 1-0 Black Mambas; Chinhoyi Stars 1-0 Karoi United; Concession 0-3 Shamva Mine; Golden Eagles 7-2 Omnia; MWOS 2-2 Commando Bullets; PAM FC 1-1 Herentals U-20; Trojan Stars 1-1 Come Again; ZRP Harare 0-5 Ngezi Under-19.