DESPITE ruling his side out of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title race, Manica Diamonds coach Jairos Tapera is looking to finish the season strongly.
Coming from a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Sheasham, Manica Diamonds will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways and keep their hopes of a top four finish alive when they host Simba Bhora at Gibbo today.
Manica Diamonds currently sit third on the log standings with 50 points, seven behind log leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars and tied with second-placed Dynamos.
Despite still having a mathematical chance of lifting their maiden title, coach Tapera has ruled his side out of the title race.
“If you look at the top four teams in terms of seniority, who do you think can take the championship?
“Yes, we are there among the top four, but we are there because of a good run of form, but with no intention of the championship,” said Tapera.
Tapera insists that since the start of the season, they never had an intention of winning the championship, but instead to better their 10th place finish from last season.
“We have been singing the same song since the start of the season that we need to finish better than we did last season, hence we want to finish the competition on a high.
“And we also want to win as many games from the last four and see where that can take us on the log standings,” said Tapera.
With Manica Diamonds being forced to travel to Gibbo for their home matches after their preferred home ground, Sakubva Stadium was not homologated, Tapera is full of praise for his charges for showing character in the league.
“Had it not been for the character of the boys, we will not be in the top four at this moment, but instead we would be talking a different story altogether.
“For us traveling more than 750km for our home games and more than 750km for away games has not been an easy task for the players and I am happy with how they have performed.
“It had become normal to us not to get a single day to train for the next match, but the boys have done their best. Such is football,” said Tapera.
With their opposition in today’s match, Simba Bhora not yet safe from relegation, Tapera admits it has not been easy to face teams that are trying to survive the chop.
“It has been a big challenge to play teams that are in the relegation mix, but we treat them the same and obviously going into tomorrow’s (today) game, we need to bounce back to winning ways.”