BY HENRY MHARA
Black Rhinos host FC Platinum at Sakubva Stadium this afternoon hoping to capitalise on the Zvishavane side’s stuttering start to their league title defence.
FC Platinum’s narrow 1-0 home win over Harare City last week ended a winless run of three matches which saw them record two draws and a defeat.
Thus, a return of 10 points from a possible 18 is poor by their high standards. Rhinos on the other hand, smashed their army cousins Cranborne Bullets 3-1, and their coach Herbert Maruwa says there is no better time to face the Norman Mapeza-coached side than now.
“It will not be an easy game and again we need to go for a win. We need to capitalise on that (their poor form). They have a new team which is yet to gel, so it’s a chance to capitalise and make sure we get maximum points,” Maruwa said.
Rhinos have amassed nine points from their opening six matches of the season. A modest tally for the seasoned campaigners, but their coach is satisfied.
“So far so good. I’m quite happy. There is a lot of progress in the team especially considering that we are bringing in a lot of youngsters. This is a new team, so as a coach I’m pleased with how the season is panning out.”
“We must be among the best teams in the league. If we can finish in the top four, it would be OK for us,” he said.
FC Platinum are also going through a rebuilding exercise having released seven of their senior players at the end of the year.
A young group of players has been infused into the squad, and while they have shown a lot of promise, the Mapeza-coached side no longer looks the same.
Assistant coach Daniel Veremu is hoping that his boys will carry on from where they left against Harare City last weekend.
“The boys are doing well, everyone is raring to go,” Veremu said.
“The win against Harare City was a morale booster to the team. The players are confident now because we managed to beat one of the strongest teams in the premier league.”
On facing Rhinos, he said: “It’s a very good team with a very good coach. We will go there and try to apply ourselves well. If we can manage to get three points there, it would be good for us.”
FC Platinum’s main problem so far has been their failure to score goals. While they have netted 10 goals, six of those came in one match, a 6-1 drubbing of struggling Tenax in the opening match of the campaign.
It’s a cause for concern for Veremu, but he says there are signs of an improvement.
“Every time we are training, we will be preparing the players to improve and I’m sure with the coming of more games, they will improve. It’s still work in progress but I believe everything will come right as the season progresses.”
Match day 7 fixtures
Today: ZPC Kariba v Bulawayo Chiefs (Nyamhunga), Harare City v Chicken Inn (National Sports Stadium), Black Rhinos v FC Platinum (Sakubva), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Craneborne Bullets (Baobab), Bulawayo City v Caps United (Barbourfields).
Tomorrow: Whawha v Yadah (Ascot), Manica Diamonds v Triangle (Sakubva), Dynamos v Tenax (National Sports Stadium), Highlanders v Herentals (Barbourfields).
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