Zvishavane derby


The Zvishavane derby explodes into life on Wednesday afternoon as Shabanie Mine tackle their cash-rich neighbours FC Platinum in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Maglas Stadium.

This is the first instalment of the derby in the top flight and with former Shabanie Mine coach John Phiri now “somewhere” in the FC Platinum structures, there is no doubt that despite the three points at stake, the bragging rights of the small town are also on offer. And former Shabanie striker, Patrick Mandizha, is now an assistant coach at FC Platinum.

Following the death of head coach Benjamin Moyo under mysterious circumstances on April 22, the team management immediately hired psychologists to deal with the trauma faced by the players.

They responded to that counselling by beating Black Mambas 3-0 last Saturday.

Premiership newcomers FC Platinum players are psyched up for this afternoon’s derby against long-time rivals Shabanie Mine at Maglas Stadium.
Mandizha told Newsday Sport on Tuesday:

“One setback that we might have is the psychological problem that the players might have following the death of the head coach but we would like to thank the management which has brought in some psychologists to deal with the players.”

Mandizha, a former Shabanie Mine player from 2002 to 2005, said matches against the two teams have been characterised by violence but FC Platinum would be professional and winning against the former asbestos miners will be a source of pride to them.

FC Platinum and Shabanie Mine are perennial rivals, stretching back to their flirtation in the lower division leagues.

“Local derbies are characterised by violence and you know Zvishavane is a small community.

Shabanie and Mimosa (now FC Platinum) have always been enemies and now that atmosphere has been amplified. We as FC Platinum will be professional. We respect Shabanie Mine as they have been in the Premier League for a longer time than us but we do not fear them. Winning against them will be a source of pride for the club and the supporters,” Mandizha said.

Mandizha said another hiccup for the platinum miners was the absence of Under-23 Young Warriors midfielder Joel Ngodzo, who was on national assignment at the weekend.

By yesterday morning, Joel had not arrived in camp and Mandizha said the skillful midfielder would have to pass a late fitness test if he is to feature in the Zvishavane derby. Speaking to NewsDay Sport Shabanie Mine coach Arnold Jani spoke the same language and promised fireworks.

“It’s always fireworks when we meet. We are the best of friends but enemies in the field of play. It’s going to be a fight, but in terms of football and not anything else. We respect FC Platinum but we are hoping to win,” Jani said.

Shabanie Mine are banking their hopes on Tafadzwa Mombeshora, Michael Mageja, Lenon Chisunga, Rowan Nenzou and Caleb Masocha, among others, to carry the day for them.

They won their first league match when they beat Hwange 3-2 at Maglas Stadium on Sunday while their rivals on Wednesday afternoon have been on the roll winning three of their four matches.