WITH seven matches to go before the end of the 2014 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, Bantu Rovers have a huge task ahead when they meet Hwange in a league match aware that defeat could spell doom for them.
The two sides will clash at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds today.
Bantu Rovers are second from the bottom of the log table with 17 points from 23 games, but they believe they could still survive the chop.
Tshintsha Guluva general manager Wilbert Sibanda said it will be a crucial match as they need to collect maximum points.
“We will give it our best shot because we still have a chance of surviving relegation. We need to win our next game (Hwange tie). The road to survival begins with that match,” he said.
Bantu Rovers captain Nqobizitha Masuku, who is part of the Under-23 national team in camp ahead of the international friendly match against the Botswana senior side in Gaborone tomorrow, is suspended after accumulating three yellow cards.
“We will miss Nqobizitha Masuku because of the Under- 23 international duty. Kutinyu (Tafadzwa) is out through injury. However, we have enough replacements in the squad,” Sibanda said.
Hwange will be without head coach Nation Dube who is assistant to the Under-23 side and ZPC head coach Saul Chaminuka, who was expected to leave Bulawayo last night for Botswana after his side’s match against Highlanders.
Hwange assistant coach Brain Njobvu said they would not underestimate their opponents.
“I can’t say we are going to win because it is going to be a very difficult game. We have to work very hard and respect Bantu Rovers if we are to get the three points,” he said.
In their last league match, Bantu Rovers scored probably one of the fastest goals this season through Lenience Mpofu who punished his former paymasters as early as 47 seconds into the match against Chicken Inn.
However, sloppy defending saw the GameCocks equalising through Danny “Deco” Phiri before George Majika grabbed the winner.
Hwange thumped Chapungu 4-1 at the Colliery Stadium in their last league encounter. Rodwell Chinyengetere is going to miss the game against Bantu Rovers through injury.