Castle Lager Premier Soccer League championship aspirants FC Platinum will seek to avoid the Chicken Inn pitfall when the two clash in a league match at Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon. BY FORTUNE MBELE
Norman Mapeza’s platinum miners can ascend to the top of the log if they win this afternoon, but a Chicken Inn win over Highlanders on Sunday might be haunting the Zvishavane-based side.
Mapeza and his charges have enjoyed success at Barbourfields and the last time they played at the venue they prevailed with a 2-1 win over log leaders Highlanders.
After losing their first game of the season to ZPC Kariba early last month, FC Platinum have bounced back to claim two wins over Triangle and Mutare City Rovers and realign their title chase.
Elvis Moyo and Rodwell Chinyengetere were on target for the platinum miners at Sakubva Stadium on Sunday.
Mapeza is spoilt for choice with an array of talent in his ranks and today he will be hoping that his players will come to the party to inspire what would be an important win and statement ahead of the next match against Caps United in Zvishavane.
The former Warriors coach is wary of Chicken Inn, especially after their performance at the weekend, and believes his charges will have to bring the best out of themselves to achieve a positive result.
“It is not going easy. We are playing a side which is coming from beating Highlanders and are high in confidence,” Mapeza said. “We need to be focused if we are to get a positive result. Otherwise everything in our camp is well. We just have to work on the boys’ recovery after the Sunday match against Mutare City. These games in hand are not easy at all.”
Some of FC Platinum’s likely sources of inspiration include attackers Walter Musona and Marshall Mudehwe, as well as midfielder Tatenda Dzumbunu.
On the other hand, Chicken Inn know that they will have to approach this match with caution playing against a side that thrives on denying its opponents possession, but they will not be short of confidence after goals from Obadiah Tarumbwa and midfielder Clemence Matawu saw the champions despatch Bosso.
The Gamecocks also welcome back three of their regular players that include skipper Danny “Deco” Phiri, who is probably playing one of his last matches before he packs his bags to join South Africa’s Golden Arrows.
Phiri was injured on national duty in the Cosafa Cup tournament in Namibia a few weeks ago.
Defenders Lawrence Mhlanga and Devine Lunga are also available for today’s tie after missing the Highlanders match due to suspension.
Like Mapeza, Chicken Inn coach Rahman Gumbo also expects a tough match against FC Platinum.
“They are a very good side and it’s going to be a tough match, but the spirits are high in camp after the weekend win,” Gumbo said.
“We also welcome the return of players who were on suspension and Deco is also available for the game. The match has been moved from White City, where we have been training, and going to BF, we will not be at home,” Gumbo said.
Chicken Inn had fallen out of the championship radar after a bad start, but a win today could see them claw their way back into reckoning.