Shabanie Mine coach Luke Masomere looks calm at the prospect of facing a seemingly strong Caps United in their opening match of the 2012 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) at Maglas Stadium on Sunday.
The Chinda Boys gaffer hailed the fixture as an inspirational game that would put a spring in their step ahead of the nine-month long season.
The Ian Connor-coached Caps United looks strong on paper with a galaxy of stars — Chris Semakweri, Pride Tafirenyika, Darryl Nyandoro, Obert Moyo, Asani Nhongo and David Sengu.
Masomere has rated Caps as a five-star team, but sounded unperturbed by the daunting task of facing the former cup kings, saying that is an ideal fixture they have been praying for in their first game of the term.
“It is a very big advantage to start the season by playing a big team like Caps United because at least it gives you fitting assessment of yourself for the season. It is a motivational game even if we win it or lose, but if we come out as winners it would be great and would create some great spirit within our players and fans since we would be at home,” said Masomere.
“It was going to be difficult for us to start with a small team because if you win that could give you false impressions of your calibre and you would tend to relax thinking you are high up there with the best. I am looking forward to the first game because Caps have assembled one of the strongest squads this season.”
After the United game, Shabanie will travel to Gwanda for a date with Quelaton before hosting Blue Rangers in what look like relatively easy encounters.
The fixture computer also threw the Zvishavane derby at Mandava into Shabanie’s way as early as week four and the match could be a rude reminder to Masomere that FC Platinum holds the bragging rights after emerging as winner in both the first and second editions of the derby last season.
“I do not want to start talking about game four against FC Platinum because I feel it could be too early to think of them right now. I would rather be concerned about Quelaton whom we will meet after Caps United,” Masomere said.
Shabanie’s best finish in the league is third position, a feat they attained in their maiden Premiership season in 2001.
“Winning the league title is out of the question for us. We do not want to put ourselves under pressure when there are teams we already know are favourites to do that. But the relegation issue is out of question for us and that would not happen,” said Masomere.
Shabanie have retained Caleb Masocha, Tafadzwa Mombeshora, Rodney Mware, Boniface Dimanji and Tarisai Rukanda.
They have lost Simon Shoko and Rowan Nenzou to town rivals FC Platinum, Tawanda Mareya to Hwange while Jonathan Chitereki has joined Motor Action.
Some of the new players at Maglas Stadium are Michael Chigonero, Eria Phiri, Ray Sibanda, Francis Kanda, Nelson Mazivisa and Blessed Mbavaira.