MOSES Chunga — perhaps one of the most colourful coaches in the land — takes his new project Chiredzi Football Club to Gibbo Stadium this Sunday for a date with Triangle and his former teammate Biggie Zuze.
The match will be broadcast live on SuperSport 9 at 1500hrs.
The two played together at Dynamos back in the days and won quite a lot at the reigning Premier Soccer League champions.
Among some of the memorable games that Chunga and Zuze share is a league match in 1985, when they beat Black Rhinos 2-0, where the Chiredzi coach created the second goal that was scored by Kenneth Jere.
The second game was in the 1986 Zifa Cup final when again they beat Rhinos 1-0 through Max Makanza’s solitary goal at the National Sports Stadium, with Zuze returning from a month-long injury layoff.
But this Sunday — as the Lowveld community braces for a potentially explosive derby — there is no love lost between the two.
What makes the derby even more interesting is that Chiredzi, formerly Hippo Valley and sitting in sixth position, are closely linked to Triangle as both teams were at one time bankrolled by Tongaat Hullett.
But the giant sugar-producing company dropped a bombshell late last year when they disbanded Hippo Valley after their promotion into the top-flight league as they argued that they were not able to sponsor two Premierships teams.
They settled for Triangle, who are in 14th place on the log and are in their second year in the top-flight having parted ways with the talkative and nomadic Gishon Ntini at the end of last season.
Last Saturday, most of Chiredzi fans were clad in Hippo Valley regalia in their one-all stalemate against FC Platinum at Chishamiso Stadium as they tried to register their displeasure at the disbanding of their team and giving their rivals sponsorship ahead of them.
Chiredzi currently enjoy the bragging rights in the Lowveld after a hard-fought 2-1 win against their neighbours in a pre-season friendly derby that was played at Chishamiso recently. Triangle will come into the match more bruised after suffering a morale-sapping 3-1 loss to Shabanie Mine at Maglas Stadium last Sunday.
Zuze says his players know of the weight of expectation ahead of the match.
“We are still in the process of preparing for the derby. Everyone in my camp knows what is expected from them after the Shabanie defeat. It was a wake-up call,” he said.
“Like I said earlier on, our approach was very casual and I have stated to my players that we need to change that approach.
“For now we have recovered from the defeat, we know the community is expecting something positive from the team and we should be at our best to win on Sunday.
“I hope two of my players who have got injuries — Lameck Nhamo and Hillary Bakacheza — will recover on time.”
Chiredzi chairman Charles Muchatukwa said they were banking on the support they enjoy in the Lowveld.
“We aim to collect maximum points. I think we have more supporters than Triangle and we have more sympathisers since we are not a sponsored team,” he said.
“The hype ahead of the match is already at alarming levels everywhere, hopefully it going to be a big match.”
Chiredzi will be hoping that their youngsters Tapiwa Dephistara and Abel Gwatidzo will continue with their good form while their counterparts are likely to depend on Warriors midfielder Pasca Manhanga.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Match Day Two
Saturday: How Mine v Bantu Rovers (Luveve), FC Platinum v Hwange (Mandava, SS9 @1300hrs), Harare City v Caps United (Rufaro),
Sunday: Dynamos v ZPC Kariba (NSS), Highlanders v Shabanie Mine (BF), Buffaloes v Chicken Inn (Sakubva), Black Rhinos v Chapungu (Rimuka), Triangle v Chiredzi (Gibbo)