HomeSportMapeza returns to Harare

Mapeza returns to Harare

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FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza returns to the capital this afternoon for a tricky Castle Lager Premiership match against Harare City at Rufaro Stadium since taking over at the Zvishavane-based side two months ago.

WELLINGTON TONI
SPORTS EDITOR

This is a battle that pits two new coaches-Mapeza at Platinum and Masimba Dinyero at Harare City. Dinyero replaced Bigboy Mawiwi three months ago and remains unbeaten, driving them from the relegation zone into a respectable eighth position with 34 points.

This is one point behind Platinum, who are in sixth place after a crucial 2-1 victory over Buffaloes at Mandava-Mapeza’s first home win in the league-and one that leaves them with an realistic chance of a top four finish and a Mbada Diamonds Cup slot.

If Platinum win, they will go level with Hwange on 38 points, ahead of the coalminers’ tough Colliery battle against How Mine 24 hours later.

And should City win, Platinum will do down into seventh or even eighth place, depending on results elsewhere.

Platinum arrive in the capital without the influential midfield general Thabani Kamusoko, who is serving a one match suspension after accumulating three yellow cards, but are not short of talent in that department with Simon Shoko an alternative.

There is renewed energy in the Platinum camp since Mapeza took over with the Moyo twins Kelvin and Elvis relegating veteran skipper Daniel Vheremu to the bench. Qadr Amin and Aaron Katebe are also key players in this defensive set up and will be tasked with marking out two key City men: Francesco Zekumbawire and Osborne Mukuradare.

This is the pair that has given Dinyero hopes of a top eight finish and perhaps, by some miracle, a Mbada Diamonds Cup place at the end of the season.

Upfront, Platinum can rely on Zambian import Obrey Chirwa and Donald Ngoma while the energetic pair of Wisdom Mutasa and Walter Musona will line up against City’s Nathan Ziwini.

At Gwanzura, and as they look up the Castle Lager Premiership ladder, ZPC Kariba can only see defending champions Dynamos at the top.

ZPC, just 10 months old in the topflight, have 44 points, two behind the leaders and can be overnight leaders if they beat Triangle at Gwanzura Stadium this afternoon.

This is what coach Saul Chaminuka will demand of his charges, but should also be aware that this could create pressure for his team, giving Triangle the ammunition to ambush them.

The newcomers have ridden roughshod over the establishment, beating Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United, but have been taking things easy as they plot their maiden appearance in the fourth edition of the Mbada Diamond Cup.

In other weekend action today, Chicken Inn will be missing key anchorman Danny Phiri due to suspension when they host Black Rhinos at Hartsfield.

Chicken Inn are seventh with 34 points after a rather slow and painful progress under Joey Antipas while Rhinos occupy the last relegation spot with 27 points and are in desperate need of maximum points.

At Chishamiso, Chiredzi will all, but seal a place in the Eastern Region Division One league if they lose to equally troubled Bantu Rovers.

Chiredzi lie at the bottom with 14 points and even if they win all the remaining six, they can only reach 32 by end of the season, not enough to save them from the drop, although results elsewhere can still keep them in, for now.

On the other hand, Bantu have 18 points and an additional 18 from six matches will take them to relatively safer 36 points and another dance with the topflight next season.

Tomorrow, How Mine (29, 11th place) could plunge back into relegation waters if they lose to Hwange (38, fifth place) while Shabanie Mine (26, 14th place) have no choice, but to win the Midlands Derby against Chapungu (29, 10th place) at Maglas Stadium.

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