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The title tussle involving Castle Lager Premier Soccer League log leaders FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars has provided enthralling entertainment all the way so far this season.
BY Kevin Mapasure
What happens in one week always heightens the anticipation for the next set of matches as twists and turns have characterised this platinum pound-for-pound clash.
The two teams enter an exciting phase of eight matches each and one can hardly say which of the two has got a lighter run than the other.
In fact, both have some of the toughest matches in their last eight, which points to points being dropped, guaranteeing excitement and intrigue.
But what is almost certain is that this has finally been reduced to a platinum affair as Chicken Inn have seemingly slipped out of the picture, trailing 12 points behind FC Platinum and 10 behind Ngezi Platinum Stars.
This firmly looks like it’s now a Norman Mapeza versus Tonderai Ndiraya affair.
Ngezi Platinum Stars are probably in the situation that FC Platinum were last season where they are desperate for the biggest piece of silverware and pressure is mounting on them to produce an end product after so much investment that has heightened public expectation.
FC Platinum, having won the title last season are more relaxed, but whether that gives them any advantage in their race, it’s not clear.
Both will be looking to make sure they win all their remaining home matches and both have proved that they know how to do that.
FC Platinum have four home matches left against Herentals, struggling Dynamos, Chicken Inn and their title rivals Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Ngezi on the other hand have two tough trips to Harare where they face relegation-haunted Yadah and Harare City.
They also have away matches against Bulawayo Chiefs before their final trip to Zvishavane.
Ngezi struggled in their trips to Harare last season, but they have learnt to win in the capital where they beat both Caps United and Dynamos.
Ndiraya’s side hardly drops points at home, but among their remaining fixtures, they face a grudge match against Caps United.
The Green Machine will be seeking revenge after they were thrashed in Harare earlier this year. Simba Sithole’s move from Caps United to Ngezi may also add another intriguing angle to make this clash an explosive one.
The other three home matches come against relegation-fighting Chapungu, struggling Bulawayo City and Black Rhinos.
Three of their four home matches look winnable.
On the other hand, FC Platinum look like they can collect maximum points against all the teams that will visit Mandava.
Herentals are unbeaten in their last seven matches, but that run looks like it will end today, while Dynamos have been a good source of points.
Chicken Inn will be tough, but FC Platinum know how to impose themselves with their passing game, especially at home.
Ngezi Platinum Stars will be the toughest of them all, but it’s hard to see FC Platinum losing the penultimate match of the season at home against their rivals.
It’s not clear who will win the league this season and it’s not clear the number of points that are needed, but what is crystal clear is that this will be another intriguing end to a riveting season.