After a thrilling league which had mixed emotions, so many different anticipations, triggering debate between the fans focusing on the two town rivals Hwange FC and ZPC Hwange on who will clinch the Zifa Southern Region Soccer league championship, ZPC Hwange coach Mthandazo Nkala has opened up on where he thinks they lost it in the race for championship.
He said it was important to win the first 10 games when the league commences with the following matches being played to protect the lead. This comes after they lost to relegated Bulawayo based side Zimbabwe Saints during the opening match and again were held to a one all draw with the same team.
“Looking at about three seasons back we have always lost it on our first games which again happened last season when we even lost our first game to Zim Saints. When you want the championship you must win the first 10 games which is 30 points. Then as the season progresses you work to protect the lead,” said Nkala.
Nkala added that they are working hard to start early preparations for the coming league as they are expecting a different challenge. He said they will try and avoid repeating the same mistake of slipping away from the title challenge in the early stages of the league.
Also the power distributing boys are planning to bring in new signings to reinforce the squad which he believes will yield some fruits next season and bring glory as anticipated by the fans.
“We are working hard to rectify that mistake. We are planning to start our pre-season preparations earlier so that we don’t repeat the same mistake. Chances are high that we might bring in new faces though we will keep most of our squad. We have a good team technically and on the field,” he said.
Meanwhile ZPC Hwange was a promising team which showed prowess and composure especially during the course of the second round as they looked like tittle contenders by closing the gap on champions Chipangano. But that hope was blown away when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Chakona stadium by town rivals Hwange FC, a game which appeared to be decisive on who was to become Southern Region Soccer league champions.
One ZPC Hwange fan who only identified himself as JB, said the only mistake they did ZPC Hwange) was allowing their town rivals to hold them at home even though they were the better side in the match.
“The game against Chipangano was a crucial one and was a must win game as a large crowd witnessed the thrilling derby. If ZPC had won that match things were going to take another shape in the race for championship. But that’s football, what we expect mostly is not what happens. The boys will make it next season and we will continue to give them maximum support,” he said.
The Mthandazo Nkala coached side ended the league as runners-up in the Southern Region Soccer league with a tally of 80 points, 5 points behind promoted Chipangano which brought down the league curtains with a narrow 1-0 win over spirited army side Indlovu Iyanyathela at the Colliery stadium.