Castle Challenge Cup closes 2017 season

HARARE – After a rollercoaster ride, the 2017 domestic football season officially comes to an end this afternoon when FC Platinum take on Harare City in the Castle Challenge Cup at Mandava Stadium.

The once-off match was introduced at the start of this year as the Premier Soccer League is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

With a $50 000 cheque at stake, the match will see the Castle Lager Premiership champions FC Platinum take on the Chibuku Super Cup winners Harare City.

The winner of today’s match will pocket $30 000 and the losers will go home with $20 000.

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Speaking with the Daily News earlier this week, the Sunshine Boys coach Philani Ncube felt his side needs to stop the home side from dictating the pace of the game.

“As much as we want to go there and attack we also need to exercise caution,” Ncube, who was unable to save City from relegation, warned.

“We are not going to give them any room to play because the moment we do that then we are in trouble. We will need to put them under pressure and force them to change their strategy.

“They are the champions for the league and we are also champions for the cup so it’s two champions who are meeting and I don’t think there is any need to give them special treatment.”

On the other hand, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza feels his side will go into today’s match on the back foot despite playing at home.

“If you ask me who you think the favourites are now, I think it’s Harare City,” Mapeza said.

“They only have this possibility probably to salvage something after being relegated although they have also won the Chibuku Super Cup. For this reason, we must find motivation and find in ourselves the hunger to win this game.

“The game will be very difficult. I’m not talking tactically; I’m talking about motivation, the right fire in our soul and our hearts. If we have this in the same proportion as City, we have the possibility to win the Cup. Otherwise we risk a lot.”

Mapeza made history by leading Pure Platinum Play to be the first team from outside Harare and Bulawayo to win the league title since independence.

In that regard, he would like his players to finish the season on a high by also claiming the Castle Challenge Cup.

“It’s the final game of the season and we just have to talk to the guys about the importance of winning it,” he said.

“I think we need to finish our season in style and we need to be fully focussed on that match. We want to win for our fans and everybody who is associated with the club.

“It’s important to celebrate as we did at Ascot, enjoying the moment with our families and fans because it wasn’t easy. But this season could become not just great but fantastic if we are able to win the Castle Challenge Cup. It’s a great opportunity to win more silverware.” 

While FC Platinum and Harare City will be bringing the curtain down on the season today, the other clubs are now already planning for next season.

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