Coaches cautious ahead of top-of-the-table clash

Norman Mapeza

FC PLATINUM and Chicken Inn coaches Norman Mapeza and Joey Antipas are anticipating a tough encounter when the two sides clash in a top-of-the-table Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) tie at Luveve Stadium tomorrow.

A win will lift the miners to the summit for the first time this season.

The defending champions have been on a steady climb up the table after an indifferent start to the campaign after opting to part ways with senior players and inject youthful blood into the team.

Ahead of this clash, the Antipas-coached side is one point ahead of their rivals with 38 points and hope to take full advantage of their home comforts to put some daylight between themselves and their opponents.

However, Mapeza and his men, who are looking to stretch their winning streak to six matches on the trot, will pose a great threat.

The platinum miners narrowly won the first instalment of this rivalry 2-1 last year in November at Mandava Stadium, but Mapeza is not reading much into that.

“We have been travelling a lot but what is important for us as a club at this moment is that we have managed to come back home with positive results on those trips.  In the last six games, we played two home games against Triangle and Caps United and then the rest were away,” he told NewsDay Sports.

“We have been doing well especially collecting maximum points away from home. So against Chicken Inn, it is a massive game for us. They are a very tough team to play against. They are in form, so it’s a massive game for us and we can only wait to compete and be tested by them.

“The players have been working hard despite the conditions of the muddy pitch. It is cold and rainy but there is nothing we can do. I have talked to them about the importance of this game, so everyone is aware and knows what we need to do. What counts is the positive attitude so that we can get a positive result.”

They will be without goalkeeper Petros Mhari and midfielder William Stima while Haigiazo Magaya will have to pass a late test.

Antipas welcomes back Itai Mabhunu from suspension but goalkeeper Donovan Bernard and defender Passmore Bernard will miss the game due to suspension.

“It is a top-of-the-table clash. It should be a good game. Both teams are playing very well. It will be a big feast for the fans. FC Platinum have upped their game and doing well. For us we have to up our game to get a positive result,” Antipas said.

“We have to be focused and have the right mental attitude. It will be a bruising encounter. FC Platinum have been doing great, winning their games and we have to come up with a good game plan to come up with the desired result.”

The Gamecocks are coming off a 4-1 emphatic away victory over Cranborne Bullets at Sakubva Stadium last weekend.

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