HARARE City coach Philani Ncube has refused to dwell on his team’s relegation battle, and, instead, he has turned his attention to the Chibuku Super Cup semi-final match against fellow relegation strugglers Bulawayo City set for Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
BY HENRY MHARA
The City Council derby kicks off at 1pm and will be immediately followed by another semi-final at the same venue, pitting How Mine and Shabanie Mine.
Ncube’s men were beaten 2-1 by Chicken Inn in a league match on Thursday, a result that left them just one point above the relegation cut-off point and with real fears of losing the battle for survival.
While disappointed to lose against the Gamecocks, in a match that his players only came to the party very late on and managed to score a consolation goal, Ncube said the focus was now on reaching Chibuku Super Cup final.
“It is not difficult to motivate the players, considering the way they played. They didn’t do well, they only started playing in the last 10 minutes of the match. If they had lost after playing well, they would be cursing themselves and it would be very difficult to motivate them, but they didn’t do well so they know they should improve,” Ncube said.
“It won’t be easy, but we need to get a positive result. As a coach, I want to get a medal at the end of the season so I will have to push my boys to do what they are expected to do.
“We are not in a great position in the league at the moment, so we need to win this cup. We have to try and psyche them up. We didn’t have much rest this week and I could see the players were a bit tired. We have to work on bringing back the energy.”
He said he would love to qualify for the finals and his preferred opponents would be How Mine.
“That would be marvellous if we can beat Bulawayo City and meet How Mine in the final. But we can’t start thinking of How Mine before passing this hurdle on Sunday. I don’t have a grudge with How Mine, but I just want to test my capability with their coach,” Ncube said.
He also spoke about the team’s battle for survival with season-defining matches against FC Platinum, Triangle, Black Rhinos, Hwange and How Mine still to come.
“We need to keep on fighting. The chances are still good that we can survive relegation. If we can win three out of the remaining five fixtures, I’m confident that we will survive,” Ncube said.
The two teams have already met twice in the league this season, with Bulawayo City winning in Bulawayo and getting a draw in Harare.
Their coach, Mandla Mpofu, is expecting a tough match against a side that will be seeking revenge.