By Sports Reporter
THE Castle Lager Premier Soccer League reaches the halfway stage this weekend with current league leaders, FC Platinum, seeking to wrap up the first round of matches with a win against visiting side Highlanders Football Club.
Defending champions FC Platinum have amassed 41 points from 16 games and are three points against fellow platinum side, Ngezi Platinum Stars, whom they upstaged in their last game.
Highlanders Football Club who are on a rebuilding exercise after ropping in club legend Madinda Ndlovu at the beginning of the season are in fourth position, 12 points behind their Saturday opponents.
Speaking ahead of the Saturday match, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza said Highlanders are a huge threat.
“We are playing a very good side and if you check their away record they have been very fantastic as of late and we know the challenges that we are going to face on Saturday,” said Mapeza.
Highlanders` away record this season is impressive as they have won four out of their seven games with two draws and one loss.
However, FC Platinum`s home record is also impressive as they are yet to taste defeat at Mandava Stadium, only dropping points in their game against Triangle United.
Mapeza reckons the young Bosso squad which possesses lots of energy might trouble their defence especially centre back Gift Bello who has been found wanting against speedy attackers and Madinda Nldovu`s men might want to exploit their opponents’ weakest point.
In an interview with a local publication, Ndlovu said his squad is bracing for a tough encounter against the defending champions.
“Playing a team like FC Platinum will be very difficult without most regular players. It’s a game we have to play, and we will try and salvage something from FC Platinum.
“It will be a difficult game, but we are going to face them head on. We have done well this season when playing against teams that play beautiful football like we do, so we hope to have another good day of football,” Ndlovu was quoted as saying.
Highlanders will be missing a number of key players such as Goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, defender Andrew Mbeba and midfielder Ben Musaka who are suspended while loanee Nigel Makumbe who has been impressive so far is ineligible to play against his parent club, FC Platinum.
Match Day 17 fixtures:
Saturday: Bulawayo City v Mutare City Rovers (Barbourfields), FC Platinum v Highlanders (Mandava), Herentals v Shabanie Mine (National Sports Stadium), Dynamos v Nichrut FC (Rufaro)
Sunday: Chapungu v Caps United (Ascot), Bulawayo Chiefs v ZPC Kariba (Luveve), Black Rhinos v Ngezi Platinum Stars (National Sports Stadium), Triangle United v Chicken Inn (Gibbo), Harare City v Yadah (Rufaro)