The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table is slowly taking shape with grain separating from the chaff and teams’ prospects will be clearer when early contenders Highlanders and FC Platinum collide tomorrow in a much-anticipated encounter.
Report by Kevin Mapasure
Besides being coached by Zambians there are many striking similarities about the way the two have fared so far this term, with both bolting from the blocks in impressive fashion.
In the last five matches both have won three, lost a game and drawn.
They have both won six matches, drawn once and lost once as well as scoring the same number of goals — 16.
The only difference is the goals conceded where Highlanders have let in two less than their rivals.
At Mandava stadium tomorrow both sides will be looking to put a bit of daylight between them and rivals.
FC Platinum coach Tennant Chilumba will be hoping that his side takes full advantage of playing at home where they are yet to drop points. The usual suspects, attackers Ali Sadiki, Donald Ngoma and Nelson Mazivisa pose a threat to Kelvin Kaindu’s mission to collect more maximum points.
Chilumba said because of their experience Highlanders will start off as favourites but his team will put up a good fight.
“Both teams have started well; there is a lot of expectation over this match — we should see a tough match for the two but an exciting one for the fans,” said Tendai Chikuni, FC Platinum assistant coach.
“We will be a bit cautious but we will play positively and try to get a result. Highlanders have picked up from where they left off last season, but we have got our youngsters coming up well and the team is starting to gel. We are trying to build a team that can compete for top prizes and the project is progressing well.”
The home side is sweating on the fitness of Joel Ngodzo who is struggling with a knee injury but Chikuni said they have good replacements.
“There is stiff competition for places, everyone is excited about this match and they all want to play; we will conduct a fitness test on Ngodzo and see if he is fit enough to be part of the final 18.”
FC Platinum has shown signs of striking a good balance between steel at the back and silk when going forward.
But so too have Bosso, looking to end Dynamos’ dominance of the topflight this term after falling agonisingly short last season.
Striker Njabulo Ncube will try to prove he is a big game player by lifting the weight off Masimba Mambare who made Bosso tick last term.
Dynamos look like they have managed to exorcise their draw demons and ready to start on a steady climb upwards. With two wins from their last five matches a win against Hwange on Sunday will see the Glamour Boys cement their recovery.
The spotlight falls on Washinton Pakamisa, hero of five goals in the last three matches, to lead the Dynamos attack again.
Caps United have been disappointing as much as they have been exciting. It is difficult to predict which Caps will turn up on Sunday. Last week they frustrated their fans after suffering a home defeat to struggling Shabanie who notched only their second win.
Caps face league debutants Triangle at Gibbo. They welcome back the creative quartet of Ronald Pfumbidzai, Rahman Kutsanzira, Pride Tafirenyika and Hardlife Zvirekwi who all missed the last match.
Saturday: Chicken Inn v Motor Action, Luveve: Black Mambas v Black Rhinos, Morris Depot: Tripple B v Monomotapa, Dulibadzimu: FC Platinum v Highlander, Mandava
Sunday: Shabanie Mine v Harare City Maglas: How Mine v Buffaloes, Luveve Stadium: Triangle v CAPS United Gibbo: Dynamos v Hwange, Rufaro.