FC Platinum coach Tennant Chilumba faces his former paymasters Hwange as the Zvishavane side bids for their first win in four matches in a Castle Premiership football match at Mandava today.
Report by Fortune Mbele
Chilumba, who crossed floors at the start of the season leaving his former assistant Nation Dube in charge, saw his charges assume top spot on Saturday after their 1-1 draw against Monomotapa.
Platinum though will be without the influential Charles Sibanda, who will be joining the Warriors camp today ahead of an international friendly match against Malawi on Saturday, while Ali Sadiki is out with injury unless he passes a late fitness test.
Sibanda could have travelled after the match, but the company that runs the club forbids its players and officials from travelling at night.
Sibanda and Sadiki have each scored four goals for Platinum and their absence could be felt against Hwange, who are brimming with confidence after the 3-1 win over basement side Tripple B at the Colliery on Sunday.
However, Chilumba is confident that his side will collect maximum points from Hwange and is not reading much into his last three draws against Dynamos, Highlanders and Monomotapa.
“We are treating this game like any other game. It is just a normal game. We are not under any pressure. At the end of the day, what we want is to collect maximum points. We played a draw against Monomotapa after a lapse in concentration.
“But if you look at it, we have managed to grab a point from Monomotapa, Highlanders and Dynamos, teams that beat us home and away last year, and that is an improvement.
It shows that we are moving in the right direction,” Chilumba said.
Platinum top the log standings with 21 points from 10 matches, a point ahead of Bosso, How Mine, Harare City and three ahead of champions Dynamos. Dynamos have a tricky tie against Harare City today in the capital.
On-fire How Mine, slowly becoming giant killers after beating Highlanders 2-1, are also in Harare to Black Mambas at Morris Depot, while Bosso are also away to Monomotapa in Harare tomorrow.
Platinum have former Hwange players Aaron Katebe, Winston Mhango and goalkeeper Petros Mhari and that could add flavour to the match with Nelson Mazivisa, Joel “Josta” Ngodzo and Mitchelle Katsvairo also in camp.
Hwange assistant coach Brian Njovu yesterday said the coal miners would not play their game in the newspapers, but would wait for the final whistle this afternoon.
“We play our game in the field of play,” was Njovu’s brief reply to NewsDay Sport yesterday.
Chipangano have the experience of David Boriwondo, Farai Vimisayi, Gilbert Zulu, Isaac Masame, Nkosana Siwela and Gerald Ndlovu to carry the day for them against the log leaders.
Siwela, Tafara Chese and Ndlovu were on target against Tripple B on Sunday to pull Hwange out of position two from the bottom to position 12 and another positive result at Mandava will surely boost the coal miners’ executive confidence
in the Nation Dube-led technical team.