FC PLATINUM are aiming to stop early Castle Lager Premier Soccer League pacesetters Hwange dead in their tracks when the two clash at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane on Saturday.
Hwange crushed Buffaloes 5-1 in the season opener last week to assume the leadership of the log standings while Platinum were lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw against Chiredzi FC, scoring deep into injury time.
But as the two miners prepare for a battle at Mandava, it is the coal miners who have the upper hand after they became the first club to beat Platinum at home last season when they were still under Zambian coach Tennant Chilumba.
Chilumba had crossed the floor from Hwange at the end of the 2012 season.
Lloyd Mutasa, the Platinum coach believes a win will set the pace for a better 2014 season.
“We are playing at home and we are in need of a win. Hwange won’t be easy because their confidence is high after that win. We still have a few injuries in the team, but we have enough quality,” said Mutasa.
Defender Daniel Veremu is still out together with goalkeeper Francis Tizayi and striker Obrey Chirwa. But Mutasa will welcome back striker Donald Ngoma who was in Sweden for trials.
Hwange boss Nation Dube urged his boys to keep their feet on the ground.
“Its 29 games to go and there is little I can say. We will take each game as it comes. It will be tough at Mandava but we are going there with a positive mind,” Dube.
Dube has every reason to be positive following the return of Rodwell Chinyengetere after 18 months on the sidelines due to injury sustained in 2012.
Chinyengetere scored twice in the 5-1 win over Buffaloes and remains the key player for the coalminers.
Warriors defender Eric Chipeta is doubtful for the match after being stretchered off the pitch in the season opener, something that should necessitate some changes at the back of the Hwange defence.
Second placed Chicken Inn visit wounded Buffaloes while third placed Shabanie Mine face a tough test against Highlanders at Barbourfields on Sunday.
Defending champions, Dynamos will play their first league match at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday against newboys ZPC hoping to continue from their fine start where they picked up maximum points in Bulawayo last week.
Saturday: How Mine v Bantu Rovers (Luveve), FC Platinum v Hwange (Mandava, Live on SuperSport 9 at 1300hrs, Zim time), Harare City v Caps United (Rufaro).Advertisement
Sunday: Dynamos v ZPC Kariba (NSS), Highlanders v Shabanie Mine (BF), Buffaloes v Chicken Inn (Sakubva), Black Rhinos v Chapungu (Rimuka), Triangle v Chiredzi (Gibbo, Live on Supersport 9 at 1500hrs Zim time)