BY TERRY MADYAUTA
TELONE assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa has predicted a feisty derby when his charges take on their city rivals Chapungu at Ascot Stadium in Gweru tomorrow.
Mutasa’s side has failed to meet the high expectations that greeted their grand arrival into the top-flight league.
For a team that is well resourced, for them to be fighting relegation at this stage of the season is poor by any standards.
Compare their financial situation to Chapungu, then TelOne should be doing better.
The airmen, though not the poorest of the teams locally because of the financial backing from the security services sector and NetOne, have done exceedingly well this far, and will start tomorrow’s match as favourites.
Six points separate the two sides, with the airmen seated on position 11 with 34 points, while the WiFi Boys are 12th with 28 points.
The first instalment of the derby, which was played at Mandava Stadium, ended in a one all draw.
However, in this one, TelOne will be fighting for dear life in the top-flight, while for Chapungu, it will be more of consolidating their position in mid-table.
Addressing a Press conference in Gweru yesterday, Mutasa said he was happy with the mental strength that has been shown by his charges and is hoping it would spur his side to victory.
“Derbies are unpredictable and full of emotion as well. We expect nothing, but a tough match. I am confident we will get a positive result,” he said.
“We still have a good chance of surviving relegation. If we win all our remaining matches, we can survive. So I can say it’s in our hands. Our goals since coming here is to make sure we protect this brand and play Premiership football next season. We have to make sure we beat teams, especially those that are below us, for us to have a chance of surviving relegation.”
TelOne have not lost at Ascot Stadium since the appointment of coach Rahman Gumbo and will be hoping to pick up their pieces after losing their previous match 2-0 away to Highlanders.
Chapungu drew 1-1 with Herentals in their last assignment.
Chapungu interim coach Weddington Chinyan’anya is wary of the threat posed by their cross-town rivals.
“TelOne had been doing very well before they lost to Highlanders, so we are aware of the challenge they pose and we are preparing to give a worthy fight,” he said.
“We need to collect maximum points, especially after dropping points in the last match we played against Herentals. Looking at the standings, we are not yet fully safe from relegation, so we must pick as many points as we can in the remaining matches.”
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures matchday 27
Tomorrow: Yadah v Manica Diamonds (Rufaro), Mushowani Stars v Triangle (Trojan), TelOne v Chapungu (Asot), Herentals v Black Rhinos (NSS)
Sunday: Hwange v Harare City (Colliery)
Wednesday: ZPC Kariba v Highlanders (Nyamhunga), Chicken Inn v Caps United (Barbourfields), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Bulawayo Chiefs (Baobab), Dynamos v FC Platinum (Rufaro)