THE time for what ifs and second guessing is over. The race for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League reaches the homestretch this weekend and the margin for error is narrow.
BY HENRY MHARA
Three teams, perhaps four, are still in with a chance of winning the title and this weekend’s round of matches’ promises to be decisive especially for the main title contenders.
Log leaders Chicken Inn, four points clear of nearest rivals FC Platinum with six games to go, will start the weekend as heavy favourites to clinch their first ever title.
They host How Mine in a Bulawayo derby at Luveve Stadium this afternoon in a match whose importance cannot be overemphasized.
FC Platinum are remain the dark horses in the race, as they are also bidding for their first title.
They host Lloyd Mutasa’s WhaWha at Mandava Stadium this afternoon looking to bounce back from a disappointing 0-0 draw at Tsholotsho a fortnight ago.
While events at Luveve and Mandava are likely to overshadow everything else today, there is no doubt focus tomorrow will be at Rufaro Stadium, where Dynamos have to beat Harare City to remain in contention for the title.
However, even victory over Taurai Mangwiro’s side will not leave the title destiny in Dynamos’ hands, as Chicken Inn will still remain on top even if they don’t get a desirable result today.
Dynamos coach, Tonderai Ndiraya acknowledges his team have to win all their remaining matches to stand a chance of winning their fifth consecutive title.
“We have hope especially after getting a result at Chicken Inn, and everyone is now believing.
City are a formidable side with a very good coach in Taurai Mangwiro and it promises to be quite a tough match, but we hope to do our best so that we keep up with the leading teams,” he said.
Dynamos will be without suspended Stephen Alimenda. In the previous four games that Alimenda, who is the team’s stand-in captain missed, Dynamos failed to garner maximum points.
Ndiraya is hoping this will not affect his side tomorrow.
“Coincidentally that’s what happened, but we are not worried that much, we are looking at positives. We are hoping those who will be selected to do duty will do justice to the selection.
Of course he is a key member of the squad, but we are a team and we rely on team effort not on individuals,” added Ndiraya.
Their opponents tomorrow, could turn out to be the kingmakers this season, as they have outstanding fixtures against Chicken Inn and FC Platinum.
City, despite their strong link with Dynamos, have said their city rivals should not expect any favours in this match.
“We would like to do our best and consolidate our position and even try and do better than the position we are in at the moment. We have done our preparations during the week, and we are looking forward to the match,” said Caps United assistant coach Mike Madzivanyika.
Currently sixth, City are going into the match on a high following their 4-1 demolition of ZPC Kariba in the Chibuku Cup semifinal with big striker Francesco “Cecil” Zekumbawire scoring a brace. They had scored five past fourth placed Triangle in the competition’s quarterfinals.