FC Platinum, Bantu clash

Lovemore Zigara/Allen Khumalo, Sports Reporters
FC PLATINUM are not leaving anything to chance, ruling out complacency from their camp when they take on Bantu Rovers in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match to be played at Maglas Stadium, Zvishavane this afternoon.

The platinum miners are temporarily using Maglas for their league matches until renovations at their home ground Mandava Stadium are complete.

FC Platinum’s call against complacency comes at a time when Bantu Rovers suffered a massive 0-5 defeat to Chicken Inn in their season’s opener.

Despite seeing his charges collect maximum points against Dynamos in Harare where they won 1-0 courtesy of a Winston Mhango goal, FC Platinum’ mentor Norman Mapeza said they are concerned about a possible backlash from Bantu Rovers who have nothing to lose.

“It’s not going to be an easy game against Bantu Rovers because they lost their opening game against Chicken Inn by a huge margin but that does not mean they will be pushovers. They are in the league to compete and I am sure they worked on their shortcomings. I am sure they will have rectified their problems when we play them hence we need to be at our best for us to get a positive result. We are not guaranteed the three points unless we fight for them. Therefore we need to approach the game with the same mentality we showed against Dynamos,” said Mapeza.

Odds favour FC Platinum for victory this afternoon given the quality in their side as compared to their opponents who have in their ranks teenagers without Premiership experience.

The Zvishavane-based outfit will be banking on the likes of Mhango, goalkeeper Petros Mhari, newly signed Gift Mbweti, Charles Sibanda, speedster Marshal Mudehwe as well as Talent Chawapihwa.

Rovers’ coach Methembe Ndlovu said: “The bigger challenge was lifting morale after our 5-0 defeat and making sure that the players are focused for the coming match. We have been trying to tell the players to focus on the next game because the result (loss to Chicken Inn) does not really weigh much on us as compared to other teams who are hard-pressed for results. We’re here to give younger players a platform to showcase their talent.”

Rovers will be without injured defender Dumisani “Fazo” Sibanda while young striker Obrey Chirinda who picked up a knock against Chicken Inn is subject to passing a late fitness test.

Meanwhile, Rovers’ captain Bukhosi Sibanda believes they have what it takes to shock FC Platinum, saying they are geared for today’s match.

“It hasn’t been easy for most of our youngsters because it’s their first time playing in the PSL. The coaches have been trying to motivate us, to pick ourselves up. That defeat is now water under the bridge and the team is looking forward to the next match,”  Sibanda said.

— @lavuzigara1/@khumzallen

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