Gamecocks, FC Platinum in crucial tests

HARARE - Two of the leading contenders in the Castle Lager Premiership race — FC Platinum and Chicken Inn — are in action today hoping to get a step closer to the coveted title.

With second-placed Dynamos only in action tomorrow against Highlanders, these two sides have a chance to pick up three points today.

Chicken Inn are in first place on the log with 51 points from 24 matches with only 10 games to go before the season comes to an end.

This afternoon, Rahman Gumbo’s side are at home to Yadah FC at Hartsfield Grounds.

Chicken Inn come into this match high on confidence following a run of four straight wins which have made them firm favourites to win their second title after their maiden triumph in 2015.

Last weekend, the Gamecocks prevailed over neighbours How Mine 2-1 at the same venue.

Against a Yadah side that has been inconsistent this season, Chicken Inn should not find many problems against the visitors. Although they won their last outing 3-1 against bottom side Bantu Rovers, Yadah are just one place of the last relegation place in 14th place with 27 points.

The Walter Magaya-owned side need maximum points in their remaining matches in order to avoid the chop.

In Zvishavane, FC Platinum are at home to How Mine at Mandava Stadium where they hope to take their winning run to four games and keep up pressure on the Gamecocks.        

How Mine hit turbulent times last month after their senior players went on strike over outstanding salaries and bonuses before they were slaughtered 6-0 by Dynamos.

FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza is however, not letting the gold miners’ problems distract them of the task at hand.

“I think we are playing a good team in How Mine. In the past three weeks they have regrouped although they lost to Chicken Inn last week; they have been able to field a strong team,” Mapeza said.

“We know it’s going to be a difficult game. We have been preaching of consistency here and so far so good, we have been consistent; we can’t complain and we just need to keep our momentum.

“I don’t think How Mine would like to lose two games in a row and its going to be difficult for us.

“Like I have said before; in the second half of the season all the games will be difficult. I can’t say this game is going to be easy.”

Mapeza, who is also the interim Warriors coach, said they need to pick up maximum points in the remaining matches to keep up their championship hopes alive.

“All the games are now difficult; clubs are now looking for points. For us considering our position at the moment, I think we need to play for the three points at all costs; nothing else,” he said.

“This is going to be a must win game for us where we will be playing for the three points. We want to win trophies here and we want to win championships so it’s clear.

“We won’t be worried much about the results of the other clubs; the most important thing is to focus on our job and keep on pushing like we have been doing.”

Today:

FC Platinum v How Mine (Mandava), Black Rhinos v Bulawayo City (Rufaro), Chicken Inn v Yadah FC (Hartsfield), Chapungu v Shabanie Mine (Ascot), Tsholotsho v ZPC Kariba (Dulivhadzimu)

Sunday:

Bantu Rovers v CAPS United (Hartsfield), Triangle v Hwange (Gibbo), Dynamos v Highlanders (Rufaro).

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