Tomorrow could prove a decisive moment in the race for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title, with the top four sides all in action in what could decide where the championship will eventually land at the end of the season.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Log leaders Caps United have a five-point lead at the top and will be hoping to keep that gap when they travel to third-placed Chicken Inn in a six-pointer clash, a match that is arguably the pick of the day’s fixtures.
The Green Machine are enjoying their best form at the moment, winning five of their last six matches, drawing the other in a streak that has given them some breathing space at the top.
A win for the Darlington Dodo-coached side will see them move closer to the finishing line with just seven matches remaining, while at the same time, effectively pushing away rival Chicken Inn from the title race.
Caps have 50 points, five clear of second-placed FC Platinum.
Third-placed Chicken Inn have won just one in their last five matches, a form that has seen them almost surrendering the title chase.
Seven points behind Caps, this clash gives Chicken Inn a chance to reduce the gap on log leaders to five points, which could be narrowed down given the number of points still to be played play for.
If they lose here, their season is effectively done.
Anticipating a huge crowd for this clash, Chicken Inn have moved the match from their home ground Luveve to a more spacious Barbourfields.
Champions FC Platinum are also facing a season’s defining match when they clash with Dynamos at Rufaro.
Interim coach Lizwe Sweswe admits that the outcome of this game will have a huge bearing on whether his side will be able to defend their title or not.
“This match is big in that it has a direct bearing upon our standings. A win will be good for us to keep pace with Caps, but anything else will short-change our targets,” he said.
“Therefore, we have prepared enough for this clash. We know it will be very difficult to negotiate our way past Dynamos who also have different targets in this game.”
In the reverse fixture played at Mandava in Zvishavane, Dynamos won 1-0. However, the former Tsholotsho mentor is not reading much into history.
FC Platinum are going into the match with their confidence high after registering a 3-1 win over Yadah Stars the last time out, while Dynamos have been huffing and puffing.
“We are hoping to keep the winning momentum in this race. I hope the same way we won against Yadah will be the same way we collect maximum points on Wednesday (tomorrow). Dropping points will be detrimental to our aspirations at this stage of the season. Judging from the mood in camp, I can say we are ready to battle against Dynamos,” Sweswe said.
The Harare giants have recorded seven draws in eight matches, something that is worrying coach Tonderai Ndiraya.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures
Tomorrow: ZPC Kariba v Highlanders (Nyamhunga), Chicken Inn v Caps United (Barbourfields), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Bulawayo Chiefs (Baobab), Dynamos v FC Platinum (Rufaro)