By Sports Reporter
FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza is wary of the threat posed by fellow title chasers Chicken Inn ahead of the two teams’ Castle Lager Premier Soccer League top of the table clash at Luveve Stadium on Saturday.
Defending champions FC Platinum currently sit top of the log standings on 10 points from four matches, a single point ahead of Chicken Inn, who surrendered top spot after a 1-0 loss against Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Mapeza, who is seeking a third successive PSL title with the Zvishavane side, said his charges needed to put up a very good display for them to come out from the match with a positive result against the GameCocks.
“It’s a huge game for us. Chicken Inn had a very good start in their first three games, of course they lost to Ngezi over the Easter holidays but I think they have been playing good football. For us to go there and get maximum points, we have to really put up a good perfomance,” Mapeza told reporters during the team’s weekly press conference on Thursday.
The former Warriors player and coach said Chicken Inn had underlined their intentions of challenging for honours by signing several new players in a bid to bolster their squad.
“The recruitment they have done this season has shown their intent and they’re really pushing for the league championship and like I said, we just have to go there and put everything into the game, that is the mental and the physical side,” Mapeza said.
FC Platinum are likely to be without the trio of William Stima, Kelvin Madzongwe and Raphael Muduviwa due to injuries while Rahman Kutsanzira is expected to make a return after missing the team’s last two matches.
Chicken Inn, who are searching for their first league crown since 2015, will have to battle against the odds as history favours FC Platinum to win.
The Gamecocks have faced FC Platinum eight times at home, winning once in 2013 in addition to four draws and three loses to the miners.
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas however said he was not worried about the history between the two teams.
“History matters little in the game of football and what is important is the players’ mindset. If we’re psychologically ready, have more desire to win than our opponents and play to the best of our abilities, we will certainly get a positive result,” said Antipas.
Among some of the notable matches this weekend, winless Highlanders travel to Harare for a date with Mushowani Stars at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday.
After a string of poor results, Bosso will see this as an opportunity to pick up their first win of the season, but they may not find it easy against a plucky Mushowani Stars, who have punched above their weight in their debut season in the PSL.
Fading Harare giants Dynamos will be looking to breathe life to their season under new coach Tonderayi Ndiraya when they take on another newly-promoted side, TelOne at Barbourfields.
Harare giants CAPS United, who have enjoyed a fine start to the campaign, host basement side Bulawayo Chiefs hoping to continue their fine start to the season which has seen them winning two of their first three matches without conceding a goal.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Fixtures
Saturday: Harare City v Black Rhinos (Rufaro), Mushowani v Highlanders (National Sports Stadium), Chicken Inn v FC Platinum (Luveve), ZPC Kariba v Yadah (Nyamhunga)
Sunday: CAPS v Bulawayo Chiefs (National Sports Stadium), Triangle v Chapungu (Gibbo), Hwange v Manica Diamonds (Colliery), Herentals v Ngezi Platinum (Rufaro), TelOne v Dynamos (Barbourfields)