By Kevin Mapasure / Terry Madyauta
The Platinum derby at Baobab Stadium tomorrow featuring FC Platinum and hosts Ngezi Platinum Stars will pit two of the topflight’s football purists in a match either side ill affords to lose.
Not even a draw will be good enough for the two ambitious sides, considering results from last week, where champions FC Platinum lost at home, while Ngezi lifted gloom in their camp with an away win.
Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Erol Akbay, an advocate of beautiful football, has said his side can be a surprise package and force themselves into the title matrix after a bad start to the campaign.
And if they can force a win tomorrow, their chances will suddenly blossom again as maximum points would take them to just two points behind Norman Mapeza’s side.
Akbay and Mapeza have similar philosophies, where they want to see their teams win while playing beautiful football.
It will be interesting to find out who will prosper in this match that pits teams that like to move the ball around on the surface.
The Baobab is a good setting for this contest considering its flat and well-manicured surface. Fans are almost guaranteed of an enthralling contest laced with flare and finesse.
Mapeza wants to see his side respond to their surprise 1-0 defeat to Dynamos on Saturday.
“It’s an important game against Ngezi Platinum after disappointment last Saturday. It’s part of the game to lose, but we need to respond,” he said.
“Ngezi will be high in confidence after winning their last match against Bulawayo Chiefs so we know the challenge, but at the end of the day, this is a game where we need to redeem ourselves. We need to be at our best so that we can get a result on Saturday.”
Mapeza conceded that his side was facing stiffer competition for the title than in the last two seasons.
“There is not much difference in terms of the points tally compared to last season, but this season seems more competitive,” he said.
Akbay said he was looking forward to the match, adding his target is to get the Mhondoro-based side to the top of the log.
“Every game is important especially now that we are eighth because that is not where we belong. If you don’t win, you stay there. What is important for us is to go to the top,” he said.
“For these kind of games, players are self-motivated. For the coach, it’s about managing the starting 11 and the match. This match is very good because we want to play football. FC
Platinum also want to play football, so it’s going to be exciting for the neutral who want to enjoy football because it’s two teams that want to play football.”