Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
PROPHET Walter Magaya’s Yadah FC have exerted pressure on teams that play their Week Two encounters today and tomorrow after ascending from position 13 to the top of the Premiership table yesterday following a 1-0 win over ZPC Kariba.
Yadah, coached by former national team assistant coach Jairos Tapera who is on record as saying he believes the anointing from club owner Prophet Magaya will shake the topflight league, has led the Premiership newboys to a perfect start.
The club, which is bankrolled by Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries’ Prophet Magaya, might be praying that the teams which include former champions Chicken Inn, title hopefuls FC Platinum, Chapungu and Tsholotsho – who are all in action today – slip up and allow them to be at the top for another day.
Bulawayo City v Chicken Inn (Barbourfields Stadium)
Season opening weekend’s biggest scorers Chicken Inn face a tricky encounter against Bulawayo City this afternoon at Barbourfields Stadium.
Chicken Inn, the 2015 champions, fired warning shots on their opening match of the season beating Premiership returnees Bantu Rovers courtesy of goals from Innocent Mucheneka, Obidiah Tarumbwa, Tafadzwa Kutinyu and a brace by Ishmael Lawe.
Buoyed by that good start, Chicken Inn should be wary of Bulawayo City who are a wounded side following a 0-2 loss to Highlanders on Match day One.
Unlike Bantu Rovers who had half of their players being Under-20 lads, Bulawayo City, who caused anxious moments for Bosso in that defeat, have an experienced squad that can shock Chicken Inn.
What might also give confidence and reason to believe among Bulawayo City players is that last season the local authority bankrolled side beat the Gamecocks with identical 1-0 scorelines.
“It’s a tricky game for us because we’re facing a side that has a seasoned gaffer and experienced players. What we’re going for is a positive result. Last week we gave our opponents (Highlanders) lots of respect and we paid dearly for that. We’ve worked on our shortcomings and are looking forward to the game,” said Mandla Mpofu, Bulawayo City’s coach.
Going into today’s game, the Bulawayo City coach said their preparations have been dealt a blow after exciting midfielder Sipho Ndlovu picked an injury during the week which has ruled him out of the tie.
In the absence of Ndlovu whose impressive performances won him a national team call up recently, Bulawayo City will among other players bank on Mkhokheli Dube, Mkhululi Moyo, Eddie Nkhulungo, Kelvin Madzongwe and Trevor Ndlovu.
How Mine v Tsholotsho FC (Luveve)
The goldminers who lost their opener 1-0 away to ZPC Kariba are in the hunt for their first points of the season against a side that wants to steer away from relegation having survived the axe by a whisker in previous seasons. Tsholotsho opened their account with a goalless draw against Hwange at their adopted Dulivhadzimu home, Beitbridge.
Tsholotsho have always been a thorn in the flesh for the goalminers, winning their last encounter 2-1. However, on paper How Mine are stronger and more organised than Tsholotsho and that might work in their favour.
The goldminers’ coach Kelvin Kaindu will look to national team goalkeeper Donovan Bernard to guard his goal with Praise Tonha, Brian Mbiriri and Mukundika Sakala forming the defence line while Peter “Rio” Moyo, Milton Ncube, Adolf Muganyi, Pasca Manhanga and Thembani Masuku could feature in Kaindu’s midfield.
Tinashe Makanda, Kuda Musharu and Toto Banda are some of the strikers at Kaindu’s disposal.
Farai Tawachera, Tsholotsho’s coach will be hoping that veteran utility player Felix Chindungwe, Thando Ncube and Spar Dube are at their best to contain How Mine’s attacks.
Highlanders v Shabanie Mine (Barbourfields)
The Bulawayo giants who trained for two days without their gaffer Erol Akbay who was on an alleged industrial action over outstanding allowances will be hoping to continue with their good run.
Highlanders should not expect an easy walk in the park as Shabanie Mine are also fired up coming into the game following a 0-0 draw against champions Caps United.
Today: Bulawayo City v Chicken Inn (Barbourfields), FC Platinum v Bantu Rovers (Maglas), Black Rhinos v Chapungu (National Sports Stadium), How Mine v Tsholotsho FC (Luveve Stadium)
Tomorrow: Caps United v Harare City (National Sports Stadium), Triangle United v Dynamos (Gibbo), Highlanders v Shabanie Mine (Barbourfields), Hwange v Ngezi Platinum (Colliery)