STAR duo, Onismor Bhasera and Washington Arubi share a lot in common.
Raised in Mutare, the pair cut their football teeth at the famed juniors academy, La Sakubva. But their similarities do not end there as they also represented their country with the national team – the Warriors.
They are also both veterans of the South African game, boasting a combined 23 years in the trenches of the popular league and are important members of their respective squads. However, last Sunday’s DStv Premiership clash between their teams, SuperSport United and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila brought to the fore the contrasting fortunes of the two seasoned footballers’ teams. The bragging rights went Bhasera’s way as Matsatsantsa overpowered TTM 2-0 in their backyard.
The result took SuperSport United joint top and level on points (27) with defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns after 13 rounds of matches played. They are only second owing to an inferior goal difference.
Inversely, it left Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila firmly rooted at the bottom of the 16-team table and in deep danger of relegation. They have collected a paltry nine points from 13 games.
The marked and sharp disparity in the two teams’ positions boils down to their performances and results over the recent past fixtures. On one hand, the table toppers have not lost a game in their last five; winning three and drawing two. The log anchors, on the other hand, have had victory elude them over the same period; suffering four successive defeats and managing only a solitary draw.
Albeit sitting out in last Sunday’s duel between their clubs, both the left-footed fullback and agile goalkeeper were rallying behind their fellow troops as they followed action from the sidelines. The former did not make the match day squad, while the latter was an unused substitute. The pair has been heavily involved in other games at some points during the campaign.
“The boys did another sterling job by winning the latest match again. It was another crucial victory for us as we chase glory. We are in fine form and if we can continue with this run, then we can challenge for the big one (league title).
“As it stands now, our goal is to stay as close to the top as possible. We want to be among the early pacesetters, keep grinding out important results and then see where that takes us at the end of the season. This is such a good feeling; the confidence levels are high and the squad is ready to fight for everything on offer,” Bhasera told Post Sport from his Pretoria base.
Arubi refuses to throw in the towel and believes it is game on as they battle to salvage something from the season.
“Our game has dipped and it is surely a cause for concern. We keep dropping points and this requires us to stem the tide so as to stop the slide down the ladder. We are encouraged by the fact that our performances have not been that bad and there are still some games to play.
“The major problem is that we are conceding without scoring and this badly affects results. If we can hit the target and keep shutouts then we can surely get something out of matches. We will stick together, stay positive and keep pushing in order to achieve our target of surviving the chop and remain in the Premiership. We can rise to the challenge,” said Arubi, the veteran ex-Dynamos shot stopper.
This season’s league marathon is set to provide a stern test of character for the two clubs. The spotlight will be on SuperSport United to see if they have finally come of age under Zimbabwean gaffer and former Warriors defence stalwart Kaitano Tembo. Can their title tilt deliver the championship?
For Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, as newcomers can they pull their weight and turn the corner by avoiding demotion in their maiden top-flight campaign?