CAPS United coach Taurai Mangwiro is pleading with the Premier Soccer League to consider simultaneous kick-off for the final five Castle Lager Premiership Soccer League games.
As it stands, only the final round of fixtures might start at the same time.
But Mangwiro believes the current format where games are spread over the weekend should be altered as the race for the title reaches a dramatic climax.
Caps United, third on the log standings, humiliated Highlanders 4-0 on Sunday, a day after second-placed ZPC Kariba had beaten Triangle 1-0. Log leaders Dynamos also played their match against Buffaloes on Sunday, winning the game 1-0.
After his side’s clinical job which left Highlanders reeling, Mangwiro called for the remaining matches to be played instantaneously.
“Going into the match, we were under pressure because the teams, one above us and two below us, won their matches yesterday (Saturday) so it put unnecessary pressure. I was thinking perhaps we (as title contenders) could play on the same day because it kind of puts some pressure and at times we end up looking desperate,” Mangwiro said.
“Obviously there are advantages and disadvantages to kicking off later than the other teams. If you kick off later than your rivals, and they have lost, then you are in a more comfortable situation. Psychologically it can give you a lift, and it’s true that it can apply for us or any other team, but I think it would be better not to give any team this advantage.”
However, PSL competitions and fixtures manager Elisha Mandireva yesterday dismissed Mangwiro’s suggestions as far-fetched.
“I thought teams always play to win their matches and that should be their main worry. There has always been pressure for teams to win their matches since week one so I don’t think there is much that has changed now,” Mandireva said.
He added: “They should concentrate on their games, not how other teams play. If it was the decisive weekend, it would have been understandable.
“I think those who are suggesting that are concentrating on the wrong business, putting focus on the wrong things.”
Mandireva said there won’t be any midweek games again this week to pave way for the national men’s team who are away in Swaziland for an international friendly match tomorrow.
The Mangwiro-coached side kept their hopes of winning the title with an efficient performance as they dismantled a helpless Highlanders side at the National Sports Stadium.
Quick goals by Ishmael Thindwa, Nicholas Alifandika and Dumisani Ndlovu (own goal) in the opening 22 minutes put the Green Machine on the way before Kelvin Bulaji inflicted more pain with the fourth goal in the second half to ensure the team move to 45 points, just two and four behind ZPC Kariba and Dynamos respectively.
Caps United travel to Triangle next before hosting their bogey side FC Platinum, a side they have lost three times to already this season in both league and cup competitions.
But Mangwiro is not worried.
“In football you don’t have to look at history too much, if anything you need to take each game as it comes. We lost heavily against Highlanders (in the first round), but we have reversed that and that’s how I would want to look at football so they might have gotten the better of us, but I still feel with the correct application, and the right frame of mind we should be able to post a good result (against FC Platinum),” Mangwiro said.
Caps are also still to face Buffaloes and Harare City before concluding the season with a tricky tie against ZPC Kariba in what appears a tough run-in for the Green Machine.
Dynamos remained on pole position to retain the title after their hugely important win away to Buffaloes, which was technically their last “away” match of the season.
The champions will play their remaining matches, against Chapungu, Harare City, Bantu Rovers, ZPC Kariba and Luke Masomere’s How Mine, in the capital.
That alone would give Kalisto Pasuwa-coached side enough confidence that they can go all the way and win their fourth straight title.
ZPC Kariba have been absolutely fantastic this far and their latest win was hugely expected. Of the title contenders this is one team that is not under pressure for anything in the remaining games, which could be a huge advantage for them.
However, they have what appear to be tough assignments remaining with trips to FC Platinum, Buffaloes (home), Harare City (away) and the last two matches against Dynamos and Caps United all still to come.