Ray Bande and Moffat Mungazi—
ZIFA Eastern Region Division One pacesetters Manica Diamonds — who will enjoy the comfort of playing their next four matches at Mutare Boys High — outplayed fellow title contenders Green Fuel in a 3-1 triumph that ensured the Gem Boys maintain top spot on the log standings.
The Gem Boys will host Masvingo mid-table side 011 this weekend before the welcome troublesome Chipinge side Gaza Gunners at the same venue next weekend.
A week after the Gaza Gunners’ assignment, the plot in the battle for Premiership promotion will get thicker as Manica Diamond play against Tenax at Mutare Boys High grounds before Luke Masomere’s men host Buffaloes at the same venue.
Still unbeaten and with the most prolific attack and the least leaky defence, the Gem Boys sit top in the second-tier league with 29 points from 11 games.
Other contenders are Tenax (25), Green Fuel (22) and Buffaloes (22).
However, the victory over Green Fuel in a top-of-the-table clash last weekend saw the Gem Boys maintain their four-point advantage over second-placed Mutare correctional services outfit Tenax.
Seasoned Manica Diamond midfielder Clemence ‘Skude’ Mukudu believes experience is the greatest weapon in their arsenal as they gun for the Zifa Eastern Region Division championship ticket that comes with subsequent promotion into the Premiership.
“There is no substitution for experience and I think it is already showing in how we have fared so far during this campaign.
“The composition of our squad is rich and all the big names have been delivering to the expected standards of the experience they carry.
“This has been a good start for us, but we are keeping our feet firmly on the ground and are eager to keep the moment going.
‘‘Our early and diligent pre-season preparations are beginning to bear fruit now.
“With most of us having played at the highest level of the local game we understand what it takes and is required of us to complete the job. We have a clear vision as a club and are united in the pursuit of our goals that we are confident we can achieve them. Ours has been a collective effort and even as games will get tougher with each passing weekend, so will our resolve also become stronger,” said the ex-Mutare Boys High captain.
Mukudu was last Saturday on target as he helped his side put fellow title aspirants Green Fuel to the sword in their own backyard at Chishamiso.
Mukudu’s strike was sandwiched between ex-FC Platinum veteran forward Stephen ‘Dealer’ Sibanda’s opener and Timire Mamvura’s third, for which he provided the assist.
Himself a veteran of many campaigns, having previously featured in four successful title chases in the Eastern Region with Highway, Triangle, Dongo Sawmills and Mutare City Rovers, Mukudu has faith in other battle-hardened troops of the platoon such as Sibanda, Mamvura, Hibron “Adhala Chommiey” Makukutu, Sydney Linyama, Benjamin Marere, Jacob Muzokomba, William Mapfumo, Moses Gutu, Nelson Tachi and Phillip Makanje, who all provide Premiership experience.