IT is rare for small town football rivalries to trigger national discourse, but after two of Zvishavane’s topflight football teams Shabanie and FC Platinum clinched places in the BancABC Sup8r final, the Zvishavane derby has generated much talk this week ahead of tomorrow’s final.
The mineral rich town is set to come to a standstill for a contest at Mandava Stadium to ascertain which team rules the town.
There is so much at stake –– the money, the bragging rights and a piece of silverware in what is likely to be a bruising encounter.
Shabanie, which has been around longer after making its topflight debut in 2001, claims to be the big brother while surviving on a shoe string budget.
It has often struggled in the league while its affluent neighbour FC Platinum, bankrolled by platinum miners Mimosa, is keen to claim giant status.
Although it is akin to a David versus Goliath scenario, Shabanie has held its own in encounters involving the two despite surviving on freebies, even from the rich neighbours.
Matches between the two teams usually attract a full house and tomorrow the modest Mandava Stadium is set to be packed to the rafters with the game also being broadcast live on SuperSport 9 at 3pm.
At this stage of the season, the momentum is with FC Platinum which has hit top form since the arrival of coach Lloyd Mutasa. FC Platinum has powered a sequence of results in the league while Shabanie has also acquitted itself well under the guidance of Luke Masomere.
After spending a fortune in assembling its squad in the last three years, FC Platinum still lacks silverware to justify the investment.
The huge spending saw the side literally cherry-picking players it wanted.
Mutasa is an advocate of passing football and FC Platinum has thrived under his stewardship and style of play.
Striker Donald Ngoma has been reinvented while Charles Sibanda is showing the form that won him the Soccer Star of the Year award two years ago.
Shabanie also has a potent strike force with Caleb Masocha and Norman Maroto leading the fire power.