Battle of Mandava

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MANDAVA Stadium is the place to be for football fans tomorrow afternoon as FC Platinum battle Harare City in the final of the $500 000 Chibuku Super Cup, which will see the winners represent Zimbabwe in the Caf Confederation Cup next season.

WELLINGTON TONI
SPORTS EDITOR

Winners take home $75 000, while the runners-up will collect a $50 000 cheque.

Gate charges have been pegged at $1 for the rest of the ground and $3 for the grandstand and a full house is expected at Mandava, who are hosting their first final since the BancABC Sup8r final last year.

The rest of the finals this season have been staged in Harare, and this is the opportune time for Delta Beverages to market their product, the fast-growing Chibuku Super, in this growing town of Zvishavane.

The product has taken the market by storm and Delta Beverages reported improved sales on Thursday in their unaudited results, overtaking the clear beers, which will certainly make their chief executive Pearson Gowero a happy man.

The product has cut across all classes in the country with a number of business executives, even golfers, taking pleasure in indulging in this brand.
At half-time tomorrow, again, a lucky football fan will drive home a Toyota Quantum.

For FC Platinum, there is the added pressure of playing the final in front of their home fans, who will obviously outnumber their adversaries and paint Mandava green and white.

But for City they hope a win will boost confidence in their fight against relegation from the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.

Harare City coach Masimba Dinyero returns to the same place where he was assistant coach to Lloyd Mutasa until May before he was shown the door and will be hoping to leave with the coveted trophy.

His veteran captain David Kutyauripo (35) will be back to lead his troops against a star-studded side that has also qualified for the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

City has brilliant individual talent in their squad, notably former Zimbabwe Leopards, Hwange and Dynamos striker Francesco Zekumbawira, Agrippa Murimba and Osborne Mukuradare.

Martin Vengesayi has been ruled out due to injury.

Dinyero will be relishing a return to Mandava, a place he left in May.

“Morale is very high in camp. The players will want to prove themselves against FC Platinum. We need to win the match at all costs. We are expecting a good game because the players feel very honoured to be playing in a cup final. We also want Harare City Football Club supporters to be happy,” he told our sister paper Southern Eye yesterday.

Norman Mapeza took over in August and has added 17 points to the 31 point tally he found then to lead the team to fourth place and could even finish in fourth place if Caps United lose their last match of the season against ZPC Kariba while they beat Chiredzi.

Missing from Mapeza’s line-up is Zambian international Aaron Katebe, who has been called up for Chipolopolo duty for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mozambique in Maputo this afternoon.

That aside, the wealth of talent at the club is abundant though Elvis Moyo limped out of their last league match against Hwange at The Colliery last week to be replaced by Qadr Amin, but is expected to be fit for this match.

Team spokesperson Chido Chizondo said Elvis is in better shape, but will wait for the medical team on his progress, but the rest of the players are available for selection.

Moyo’s twin brother Kelvin, midfield anchor and skipper Thabani Kamusoko, Wisdom Mutasa, Walter Musona, Donald Ngoma, Obrey Chirwa, Allen Gahadzikwa, Simon Shoko, Petros Mhari, Gift Bello and Benjamin Marere are at Mapeza’s disposal.

Mapeza said: “It is a cup final and we have to shift our focus towards the game. Everyone in the team is aware of what is required of them.”

Platinum completed a double over City in the league race and have won the ZNA Charity Shield (against Caps United), CG Msipa Charity Shield (against Shabanie Mine) and the Independence Cup against Dynamos.
Mapeza wanted a neutral venue for the final, but the truth is there is no Zimbabwean cup final that has ever been played in a neutral venue and
worse still, the only other venues are in Bulawayo which are being prepared for the Africa Union Sports Council Region Five Games.
That left Mandava as the only venue of note.
Tomorrow’s final is the biggest in Mapeza’s short career at Pure Platinum Play, but one that, if he wins, will endear him to the team’s hardcore and highly expectant fans.
They were last closer to glory in 2011 when Rahman Gumbo’s men were defeated on goal difference in the league race in
their debut when they amassed 58 points.
To reach the final, Platinum beat Black Rhinos 1-0, while City defeated Highlanders 3-0.

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