Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reporter
THE mining town of Zvishavane is filled with exhilaration as Castle Lager Premiership champions FC Platinum are relishing putting the icing on the cake with a win over runners-up Ngezi Platinum Stars at Mandava. FC Platinum want to wrap up what has been a fine season by beating their nearest rivals on the day that they will officially be handed the 2018 championship trophy and medals.
It should be an interesting sight for the FC Platinum fans as the side that gave Norman Mapeza’s men a good run for much of the title race — Ngezi Platinum — are expected to perform a guard of honour for the champions.
The ceremony will be the second major assignment for new PSL chairman Farai Jere, who was on the road again last week as he presided over the successfully staged Chibuku Super Cup final between Triangle and Harare City.
Jere will be part of the VVIP guests together with representatives from the sponsors, Delta, who will fly the championship trophy on an Airforce of Zimbabwe helicopter from Harare to Mandava.
The grand arrival of the silverware is also expected to add to the carnival atmosphere at the stadium.
On the first occasion when FC Platinum won the championship last year, the feat was achieved on the last day of the season and some of their fans could not make the trip to Ascot in Gweru. But with everything now happening on their doorstep, the club has responded by rolling out top-tier entertainment activities, starting in the morning till late. Despite having already won the title, Mapeza wants to maintain the team’s winning momentum, which he hopes will be carried over into the CAF Champions League.
FC Platinum will have very little time to rest after their domestic duties as they will be plunging into the Champions League adventure just days after completing their local fixtures.
“Our objective is now to get to the 80-point mark, we are not thinking much about doing a double over Ngezi, but it is about winning our matches, there will be bragging rights between the mining teams, but our objective remains.
“Let us not forget we will be playing Ngezi and I think if we talk much about the Madagascar game we will be shifting our attention. We still have two more games in the local league to go.
“So for now I will say 75 percent concentration is on our local league and then when we are done we will shift attention to the CAF Champions league,” said Mapeza.
Mapeza will also have something to be happy about after the league chiefs appeared to have acceded to his wish to have their remaining match against Highlanders brought forward.
This, the former Zimbabwe coach said, would allow FC Platinum time to prepare for the Champions League which begins in two weeks’ time.
FC Platinum were scheduled to play the Bulawayo giants on November 25, just three days before plunging into the continental jungle with Malagasy outfit CNaPS.
They will now play Highlanders on Wednesday, a week before their Champions League, giving Mapeza more time to focus on the more demanding Africa’s premier club competition.
In other matches, newboys Nichrut will learn if they still stand a chance to fight for their place in the league when they travel to Triangle where only a win will ensure they live to fight another day.
Bulawayo City, Mutare City and Shabanie Mine have already been demoted.
FC Platinum v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Mandava), Herentals v Chicken Inn (NSS), Bulawayo City v CAPS United (Barbourfields), Harare City v ZPC Kariba (Rufaro)
Bulawayo Chiefs v Highlanders (Barbourfields), Dynamos v Mutare City Rovers (Rufaro), Triangle United v Nichrut (Gibbo), Black Rhinos v Shabanie Mine (NSS), Chapungu v Yadah (Ascot).