By Lovemore Chazingwa
Title contender, Simba Bhora pilled on the pressure on log leaders Herentals U20 after a slender 1 – 0 victory away to Come Again in a tense Ruyamuro Northern Region Soccer League (NRSL) Division One match played at a suffocating Rimuka Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A clinical Simbarashe Maramwidze delivery from the edge of the box is all the visitors needed to claim a vital three points to reduce the gap to a single point between them and log leaders Herentals.
Herentals U20 drew one all against relegation candidates Harare City Cubs on Saturday.
The goal which settled the duel at Rimuka came in the 10th minute after a beautiful move orchestrated by former Caps United talisman Ronald Chitiyo.
Maranwidze received a pinpoint pass from the right which he cooly controlled, spotted his mark, and slotted home to the far right of a diving Shawn Arimoso between the posts for the host side.
The goal sent decorated Simba Bhora fans into reverberating frenzy.
The Shamva-based outfit was all fired up in the first half but came displaying the dance of the Valkyrie after the break.
It is Come Again who were super charged on the other side of play, causing anxious moments for the visitors who parked the bus for most of the second half.
Simba Bhora goalie, Simba Chinani, who once plied his trade abroad, became the busier of the two shot stoppers.
Both teams’ strikers took turns to show each other who is better at hitting the woodwork, with the posts hit at least four times during the course of the match. Those moments betrayed the trust thrust in them by their supporters.
Regular Simba Bhora scorer Tinashe Balakasi left his boots in Shamva yesterday much to the chagrin of the Simba legion of fans as they were gunning for a runaway victory.
On the other hand, Come Again talisman John Nyamupfurirwa could not find the back of the net, though he displayed fancy footwork and a knack for the attack. The slippery Nyamupfurirwa shunted precarious forays into the visitors’ defense.
While this match was unfolding, the Simba Bhora family was also following the PAM versus third-placed Golden Eagles match with bated breath.
The visitors director, Simba ‘Buju’ Ndoro, was likewise divided between Chinhoyi and Kadoma.
In Chinhoyi it was the result that he so much wanted to know, asking for regular updates via voice calls from his point person there. Buju’s other half was glued to the show at his team’s outing.
He appeared relieved at his seat in the VIP stand when the informer updated him on a desired final result from Chinhoyi Stadium, asking his aide to fill up his glass, dira rizare style.
A PAM victory means Simba Bhora shrugged off Eagles from a tie on points moving to forty-nine, one behind The Young Students on fifty, while Eagles remain on forty-six.
At the giant venue, packed to the rafters here in Rimuka, hooliganism reared its ugly head once again when first linesman Billy Cheka was pelted with a missile on the thigh from a suspected Come Again fan. Centre referee Israel Nhevera had to intermittently stop play to redress the situation.
It was after a five-minute impatient stoppage that the man at the centre allowed the ‘lion’ and the ‘cow’ to resume battle.
Simba means lion in some parts of Africa while Come Again go by the moniker Mombe Mumunda.
No sooner had play resumed than far side lineswoman Gaudencia Chikwezvero became a target of more missile throwing by, again, suspected irate Come Again fans.
Arguably sensing that the situation was under Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) control, Nhevera allowed play to roll on, albeit, with caution.
Scorer Maramwidze is glowing in the first-ever goal for his team that earned them the precious victory.
‘I’m so delighted to have scored today. It’s my first time and the goal handed us the much-deserved victory. I’m even happier as this was achieved in a tough match. I promise more goals going forward,” said the elated striker.
Simba Bhora fans turned the stadium into a theatre of celebrations throughout proceedings as they displayed an array of artistic prowess in an effort to rally their team on. The visitors’ twelfth man was strategically packed in colourful groupings on each side of the majestic venue.