Sparks are set to fly as Chicken Inn face undefeated table toppers, Ngezi Platinum in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie at Luveve Stadium this afternoon.
Takesure Chiragwi's side last suffered defeat in August 2022 when they went down to Cranborne Bullets. They are on a 19-match unbeaten streak.
Chicken Inn suffered a morale-sapping defeat to Manica Diamonds last Saturday when Mutare-born striker Fortune Binzi fired a quickfire brace late in the game to stun the GameCocks. On the other hand, Ngezi cruised to an impressive 2-0 victory over FC Platinum at Baobab Stadium. They will head to Bulawayo in a buoyant mood.
Chicken Inn have always struggled against the platinum miners, but head coach Prince Matore is unfazed by the task at hand.
“Our focus is not on the record. Our focus is on this year, 2023, on how we are going to tackle this match and playing at home. That's the most important thing,” said Matore.
“Ngezi is a good team, they are playing well but what is important is to focus on our team. It's a home game, so we need to collect maximum points,” said Matore.
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Chicken Inn will have to play without former Highlanders FC developmental side Bosso 90 midfielder-cum-defender Dominic Jaricha, who lost his father just before the start of the Manica game.
He was pulled out at the eleventh hour for Itayi Mabunu. Matore said he had given Jaricha a week off.
“It was unfortunate. We were in camp ready to go for team talk, then we received the sad news and it was unfortunate to drop him to the bench, not to play. The burial was done. I have communicated with him and I have given him a week's rest,” said Matore.
The GameCocks will also be missing the services of young right-back Arthur Chinda who is not feeling well as well as midfielder midfielder Clive Dzingai who is down with a bout of flu.
Ngezi Platinum are the highest scorers in the league with 15 goals so far. Takunda Bhenhura has scored four goals while the trio of Walter Wuwa, Tapiwa Mandinyenya and Tinotenda Murasiranwa are on two goals each. Donovan Bernard will have to organise his defence well to thwart the marauding Ngezi Platinum attack.
In the other high-profile match scheduled for today, Caps United will be hoping to return to winning ways when they visit Mandava Stadium for a date with newboys Sheasham.
The Green Machine only managed a single point in a home match against Hwange last week.
In Harare, Cranborne Bullets host Highlanders hoping to pick up a third win on the trot.
Bosso are hoping to snatch a three-match winless run, but they too are yet to be defeated this season.
They have been solid at the back but will look to share their attack to get a better end-product.
Today: Chicken Inn v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Luveve), Green Fuel v Black Rhinos (Gibbo), Cranborne Bullets v Highlanders (National Sports Stadium),
FC Platinum v ZPC Kariba (Mandava)
Tomorrow: Dynamos v Manica Diamonds (National Sports Stadium), Hwange v Triangle (Colliery), Sheasham v Caps United (Mandava).
Monday: Simba Bhora v Bulawayo Chiefs (National Sports Stadium)
Thursday: Highlanders v Dynamos (Barbourfields)