AS play in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League goes into turbo drive, the matches are getting increasingly fascinating, and the soothsayers already forecasting the destiny of the “coveted” trophy, Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas is looking to the skies for luck.
So is FC Platinum gaffer Norman Mapeza.
It is at a stage where the opposition is in no mood for favours, the shrewd Antipas is certainly a guvnor under pressure, the Gamecocks the side under scrutiny, as they bear greater expectations in the once City of Football Kings.
FC Platinum showed signs of recession earlier on in the season, a time when they were humbled 2-0 by Bulawayo Chiefs at the same venue on 13 February.
At 37 points, one behind log leaders Chicken Inn, the platinum miners have slowly risen from their slumber, to become one of the 2021/ 2022 title contenders.
“We started the second-half of the season on a good note with a massive win over Cranborne Bullets. We have to keep on winning if we are to have a shout with regards to the destiny of the championship. The title race is becoming tricky and we just pray and hope for guidance from our good Lord,” said Antipas.
In the first leg encounter at Zvishavane’s Mandava Stadium, FC Platinum were 2-1 victors with ex-Gamecocks player Innocent Muchaneka and Donald Teguru scoring for the miners.
Gamecocks got their consolation goal from the boot of their regular scorer Brian Muza who last weekend trotted to double figures when he scored his 10th goal of the season.
While he alluded to the fact that they were on a rebuilding exercise, Mapeza said he was praying that his project continues in the right direction.
“We are on a rebuilding exercise and we still believe we are on the right course. Only time will tell. Yes, we are rebuilding but we have a good side that is grinding results. That is something that makes us happy. We just hope and pray to continue in that direction,” said Mapeza.
Form Guide: Chicken Inn
D W D W W
Form Guide :FC Platinum
W W W W W
From the club’s respective form guides, Gamecocks are on a 55 percent success rate in their last five games and FC Platinum who are the league’s defending champions on an impressive 100 percent success rate.
A strong statement given there is that there will be 15 games to play after these two face off at Luveve but such are the remorseless standards these two are setting as it seems perfectly feasible, if not likely, that the points one or both of these teams drop on Saturday will be the last they give up.
Gamecocks hold the slenderest of advantages going into the game, leading FC Platinum by a point but with goal difference favouring their opponents.
It will be like a game of chess, an elimination match at Luveve Stadium as the two championship hopefuls seek to eliminate each other.
Week 19 Fixtures
Saturday; ZPC Kariba v Yadah (Nyamhunga 1pm), Black Rhinos v Herentals (Vengere), Harare City v CAPS United (National Sports Stadium), Chicken Inn v FC Platinum (Luveve Stadium)
Sunday: Ngezi Platinum Stars v Highlanders (Baobab), Dynamos v Triangle United (National Sports Stadium), Bulawayo Chiefs v Cranborne Bullets (Luveve Stadium), Manica Diamonds v Bulawayo City (Sakubva Stadium), Whawha v Tenax CS FC (Ascot)