FC Platinum coach Tendai Chikuni says he is not under any pressure ahead of his side’s Castle Lager Premier Soccer League crunch tie against Dynamos at Mandava Stadium this afternoon.
Chikuni took over as head coach from Rahman Gumbo and faces his biggest test against the defending champions.
FC Platinum and Dynamos have met three times so far, twice in the league last season and once in the semi-finals of the Mbada Diamonds Cup, again last season. Dynamos triumphed on all occasions.
“I am taking this game like any other game and I am not under any pressure whatsoever. I will not read much into history, this is a whole new game and I am approaching it as such,” said Chikuni.
“Morale is high in camp and we have done everything necessary to prepare ourselves for the match. Everyone is focused on the game and hoping for a positive result.”
Chikuni’s only headache ahead of the match is the injuries that have hit his side. Donald Ngoma, Frank Mlambo, Norman Togara, Joel Ngodzo, Thandazani Ndlovu and Tsungai Mudzamiri are all out nursing injuries.
This will mean a whole lot of re-engineering in defence and midfield for the platinum miners, who have been promised a cool $1 000 each for a win.
Dynamos assistant coach Tonderai Ndiraya said his charges would be out to collect maximum points from Mandava as they seek to close in on log leaders Highlanders.
“We are not going there for anything short of victory. We need the points to close the gap between us and Highlanders. It is not going to be easy, but we will do it,” Ndiraya said.
A win for Dynamos will take them to 30 points with one game in hand and temporarily go to number two on the log overtaking Shabanie who play Gunners tomorrow.
FC Platinum are sixth on the log and will be hoping for a win to move closer to pacesetters Bosso as well as close in on arch-rivals Shabanie Mine.
Dynamos skipper Guthrie Zhokinyi, who will miss the big clash owing to a hamstring injury, believes every team is always aiming to beat Dynamos which makes every match a grudge encounter.
“Every game that we play is a grudge match because every team wants to defeat Dynamos,” said Zhokinyu. “We know they want to revenge, but we are more motivated than them because we beat them twice in our last encounters. It’s unfortunate I won’t be playing because of injury, but I am sure whoever the coach will pick will play a key role. I am sure I will be there at Mandava to support the team,” said Zhokinyu.
The Dynamos defender suffered a hamstring injury during the Harare derby against city rivals Caps United last Saturday and was replaced by George Magariro.
Magariro is now expected to fill in his place in the heart of the defence where he will be assisted by Partson Jaure.
Midfielder Milton Makopa, who has also been on the treatment table after sustaining an injury during the derby, was, however, certified fit and made the trip to Zvishavane yesterday.
He said their aim was to collect the three points at stake.
“We know it’s an away match, but the aim is to go there and collect maximum points. I am now feeling okay and am ready to play. As usual, I will be ready to give my best if I am selected to play,” Makopa said.