Platinum teams resume title fight

HARARE - With FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars knocked out of the Chibuku Super Cup last weekend, the stage is now set for an intriguing two-horse race as the Castle Lager Premiership resumes this afternoon.

While traditional giants Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United have all failed to impose themselves this term, the two platinum teams have reduced the championship fight into a duopoly by performing exceedingly well.

FC Platinum currently enjoy a five-point lead at the top of the table having garnered 62 points from 27 matches with Ngezi Platinum Stars breathing heavily down their neck with 57 points from the same number of matches.

Norman Mapeza’s charges travel to Gibbo Stadium this afternoon for a tricky date against Triangle, who are bidding for a top four finish.

FC Platinum are aware they cannot afford to keep on dropping points especially at this crucial stage of the season if they entertain any hopes of defending their title.

In their last two away matches, FC Platinum failed to pick up maximum points losing 1-0 to Harare City before managing a 1-1 draw against Black Rhinos. Following elimination in the Chibuku Cup by Chapungu, Mapeza lamented their focus is now on winning the league title.

“We wanted to progress in the Chibuku Cup but such is football we are out. We now need to concentrate on the league so that we can try and defend our title. It’s not going to be easy but we just need to keep working hard,” Mapeza said.

Triangle will obviously not make it any easy for FC Platinum with their coach Taurai Mangwiro highlighting the need to finish the season on a high. After a promising start to the current campaign, Triangle somehow, dipped in form along the way before ultimately losing the plot. “The games are coming thick and fast and what it means is we have to play two games in five or seven days which requires us to work really hard,” Mangwiro told the Daily News.

“For now, however, we have to clear the first hurdle against FC Platinum. We are fully aware of the threat they pose given they want the title. So obviously they will come here looking for nothing less than maximum points.

“Of course we respect them as defending champions and log leaders but at the same time we want to consolidate our position on the log table and we will do our best to make sure we get maximum points. We are desperate to finish the season on a high and we can only do that by winning matches like these.

“As a team we need to keep believing because all the remaining matches will not be easy for anyone.”

For Ngezi Platinum Stars, they have a tough home assignment against
CAPS United. Tonderai Ndiraya’s charges have somehow lost their mojo which saw them going for 14 games without a defeat at the start of the season.

Fixtures:

Today: Mutare City Rovers v ZPC Kariba (Vengere), Chicken Inn v Chapungu (Luveve), Nichrut v Harare City (Ascot, Herentals v Black Rhinos (National Sports), Shabanie Mine v Bulawayo City (Maglas), Ngezi Platinum Stars v CAPS United (Baobab), Triangle United v FC Platinum (Gibbo), Highlanders v Yadah (Barbourfields), Dynamos v Bulawayo Chiefs (Rufaro)
 

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