WITH the 2018 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League still to reach the halfway stage, Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas figures it will take a miracle for teams chasing Ngezi Platinum and FC Platinum to catch up, saying all the other teams are just bridesmaids.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
After beating Bulawayo Chiefs in a mid-week clash last week at Luveve Stadium, Antipas said they were just a pressure group and following Chicken Inn’s first home defeat to FC Platinum at the same venue on Sunday, the 2015 championship winning coach insisted it’s a two-horse race for the title between the platinum miners.
Chicken Inn lost the match 2-0 to FC Platinum after dominating the game, especially in the first half, but Antipas said games were won by scoring and not ball possession.
“It’s the two platinum sides challenging each other for the championship. The rest of us are bridesmaids and that is a fact. We just have to keep on working and fighting for a better place on the log,” Antipas said.
“Football is difficult. The two platinum sides are well organised and are well-funded. For them to lose four games will be difficult. I am not throwing in the towel, but what I am saying is it will need a miracle. We have to be honest about it, although we haven’t hit the half-way mark. The teams that are chasing the platinum sides have to be winning their games. It’s all about playing catch up.”
Chicken Inn sit on fourth position, 14 points behind the seamless leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars, whose closest rival is FC Platinum only three points adrift.
To illustrate how the two platinum miners have been dominant this season, FC Platinum were on 23 points at the same stage last year and this time, they have collected 35 points from 14 matches.
Ngezi Platinum Stars have amassed 38 points after 14 matches and last season when they ended on position three after a lapse in the final stages of the programme, they had garnered 27 points from the first 14 matches.
Highlanders, who sit on third position, are 12 points behind the leaders.
There are still 60 points to play for, which itself should, under normal circumstances, be a big enough window for the other teams to catch up.
But the platinum miners have been relentless in their points accumulation and seem to have eliminated everyone else from the race to make it their fight.
He said that his team had been hard done by the six draws they have played so far.
“Maybe in the second half of the season, we will do well, but we have lost it in this first half. We were picking up draws. If we could have picked up at least two or three wins from the draws, we could have been challenging,” Antipas said.
“We will just keep fighting and getting the boys to believe that we can chase. It’s good to chase and also be in the equation, but it looks like this season, things are not working out for all the other teams except for two (Ngezi Platinum and FC Platinum).”