Lovemore Zigara in Gweru
THE much-anticipated Shurugwi derby roars into life today when newly promoted Makusha take on the expensively assembled Nichrut at Makusha Grounds in the Zifa Central Soccer League.
It will be a tale of a divided town as both sides command immense support in the mining town.
Makusha has a rich tradition in Shurugwi and is credited for churning out players that illuminated the Premiership such as Clement Mugari, who made his name at Chapungu, and Thomas Makwasha who turned out for Shabanie Mine.
Nichrut are an ambitious side and provide the only hope for Shurugwi supporters to witness Premiership football in the mining town given the investment club president Nicholas Gara has made.
What makes the derby exciting is the fact that the majority of players deemed excess baggage at Nichrut last season found sanctuary at Makusha and have a point to prove to their former paymasters.
Even club coach Rangarirai Nenerai could not hide his dismay at being pushed out of Nichrut after taking the reins when the club was 14th on the league table and guiding the team to a respectable fifth place finish at the end of the season.
“This is a must win for us because there is so much at stake. I have my boys who want to prove that they can become big names if given the platform and I also want to prove Nichrut wrong for pushing me out last season even though I had proved myself,” said Nenerai.
“We might be underdogs because we do not have big name players, but we have the arsenal to dismantle Nichrut. The fact that we are playing at home gives me the advantage because I know where my tools are and how to use them,” he added.
The player to look out for Makusha will be Aleck Marime, who sensationally crossed the floor after initially being lured by Nichrut.
Nichrut coach John Nyikadzino, whose side is yet to collect maximum points after two games, is equally confident that his charges will strike the right chord this afternoon.
“Derbies are always difficult to predict, but the best team will win. I have no doubt we are the best team and the game will be our first set of maximum points,” said Nyikadzino.
The former Chapungu coach will be hoping his star studded side, which includes Farai Mususunye, the former Hwange duo of Farai Vimisai and David Boriwondo, former FC Platinum midfielder Bastos Chihowa and Asani Nhongo come to the party.
Today: Ivan Hoe v FC Platinum (Amaveni), ZRP Gwanda v Kwekwe Stars (Phelandaba), Makusha v Nichrut (Makusha), TelOne v Whawha (Wilson Fields), MSU v Vumbachikwe (MSU), Chrome Stars v Silo United(Chrome)
Tomorrow: Blanket Mine v Tongogara (Blanket), Gwanda United v Black Eagles (Pelandaba), ZPC Munyati v Border Strikers (Munyati).