Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
TRIANGLE coach Taurai Mangwiro says the suspension of his two key defenders is not an excuse for failure as they brace for an explosive top-of-the-table clash with Ngezi Platinum at Baobab this afternoon.
The Lowveld side are enjoying fine form and are looking to exert pressure on the leaders FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum Stars after powering into the top three in the championship race.
However, the Sugar Sugar Boys suffered a double blow ahead of the battle following the suspension of key defenders Arnold Chivheya and Donald Dzvinyai.
The pair is among the six players ineligible for selection this weekend, according to the PSL regulations, after amassing three yellow cards each.
Chivheya and Dzvinyai have been doing well for the Lowveld side, which has conceded only 12 times in 18 starts this year and their absence will come as a big blow to the technical team.
“Obviously, when one goes into a game, he would definitely want all his best players to be available.
“It’s unfortunate we have to do without these guys, but we would not want to take that as an excuse.
“Instead, we look at it as an opportunity for the other players that we have to make their contributions,” said Mangwiro.
The Triangle coach, however, could turn to veteran Guthrie Zhokinyi and Rodwell Mhlanga to stabilise his team’s rear-guard.
Mangwiro’s men are coming from their biggest win in the Premiership after thumping Shabanie Mine 5-0 at their Gibbo home ground last week.
However, six points still separate them with the platinum miners in the championship race.
They have 32 points, while Ngezi have 38 and FC Platinum leading the pack on 44 points.
“We are since done with the win against Shabanie Mine and we are also not reading much into what has been going on at Ngezi Platinum.
“We are quite conscious of what is ahead of us.
“They have lost their last four matches and they obviously don’t want such a record to stay. But if we win, it also means we will slash the gap between us and them to three points. So we aim to do well continuously and see where that takes us,” said Mangwiro.
Ngezi Platinum will also be without their striker Clive Augosto.
Also missing in action is Black Rhinos midfielder Wonder Kapinda and the Harare City duo of Moses Muchenje and Protasho Kabwe.
Ngezi Platinum led the table for the better part of the first half of the season, but they have lost their last four matches on the trot and gave away considerable ground in the championship race.
They fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat to newboys Herentals last week and they trail leaders FC Platinum by six points.
This week, the PSL have set lunchtime kick-off for all the fixtures in their efforts to fend off the powerful counter attraction provided by the World Cup matches.
Domestic top-flight matches normally start at 3pm, but this week kick-off has been moved to 1pm for all matches.
The FIFA World Cup third place play-off between England and Belgium starts at 4pm today, while the final between France and Croatia has been set for tomorrow at 5pm.
The move by the PSL has been welcomed by football fans.