Leaders Ngezi, FC Platinum in ultimate test

HARARE - Ngezi Platinum Stars and FC Platinum’s 100 percent starts to the 2017 Castle Lager Premiership season come under scrutiny this afternoon.

With the season still in its infancy, the two teams have already thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the league as they are yet to taste defeat.

Ngezi Platinum lead the log standings with nine points after three straight wins over Black Rhinos, Hwange and How Mine.

On the other hand, FC Platinum are in second place with six points following two wins on the spin after overpowering Dynamos and Bantu Rovers.

This weekend, Ngezi are in Harare for a clash at the National Sports Stadium with new boys Yadah FC this afternoon hoping to maintain their perfect record.

Yadah have punched above their weight after a goalless draw with Harare City in their opening game of the season before edging ZPC Kariba in their second match.

In their last match, the Walter Magaya-owned side emerged with a credible goalless draw away to Tsholotsho in Beitbridge last weekend.

The newly-promoted team’s coach, Jairos Tapera, is confident his side can cause an upset this afternoon and become the first club to stop the juggernaut by Tonderai Ndiraya’s team.

“We have got nothing to fear, in fact they should be afraid that they are playing against the Eastern Region Division One champions,” a confident Tapera told the Daily News.

“As much as we respect Ngezi and the fact that they are coached by a national team assistant coach and they have several players who turn out for the Warriors, we have tasted Premiership action and seen that there’s nothing to be intimidated about.

“We are ready for the game, we have trained hard and as of now, the boys have gained a little bit of confidence and fully understand that at the end of the day, it is just a game of football.”

Meanwhile, FC Platinum will have to be at their very best to maintain their 100 percent record when they visit Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon to take on Bulawayo City.

Amakhosi started their season on a bad note after losing 2-0 to city rivals Highlanders but they have since stringed up back-to-back wins over Chicken Inn and Shabanie Mine.

Bulawayo City coach Mandla Mpofu is pleased with the way his team has responded after the defeat to Bosso and wants them to continue with the good form they have showed recently.

“We are as prepared as we can be; it’s been a good week in training and the boys are raring to take off from the win against Shabanie Mine last week and from a coaching point of view; consistency is key,” Mpofu told the Daily News.

“But I will be the first one to admit that we must not sit on our laurels and expect a miracle against an FC Platinum side which is a very ambitious team, gifted with the resources and talent and vying for the championship.

“It will take extra effort from us to come out tops but I’m glad hard work and games of this magnitude are part of my boys’ DNA, they feel self-motivated to play against the big boys so it should be a good game.”

Following those two wins, Bulawayo City are currently in third place on the log and can find themselves on the summit if they win today and Ngezi Platinum lose to Yadah.

“We want to get as many points as possible in this first half of the season. For now it’s all about the points, it’s not about the position,” Mpofu said.

“We do not want to put ourselves under any pressure when we draw towards the end of the season when relegation matrixes come into play.”

In today’s other matches, How Mine will be looking to find their feet after a slow start to the season when they host struggling Air Force of Zimbabwe side Chapungu at Luveve Stadium.

Kelvin Kaindu’s gold-miners have a single point from a possible nine and currently anchor the log-standings.

Their opponents in today’s encounter — Chapungu — have also had a disappointing start to their season as well as they are yet to register a win following two loses and a draw from their opening three matches.

How Mine and Chapungu are only separated by goal aggregate as they both are sitting on a single point.

Coach Tendai Chikuni will be surely have lots to do to get the best out the likes of Philip Marufu, Xolisani Ncube and Co so that they survive the drop come the end of the season.

Yesterday’s Result

Black Rhinos 3-0 Bantu Rovers

PSL Fixtures

Today

Bulawayo City v FC Platinum (Barbourfields), How Mine v Chapungu (Luveve), Yadah v Ngezi Platinum Stars (National Sports Stadium)

Tomorrow

Triangle v Chicken Inn (Gibbo), Hwange v Dynamos (Colliery), CAPS United v Tsholotsho (National Sports Stadium), Highlanders v ZPC Kariba (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine v Harare City (Maglas)

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