Eddie Chikamhi and Mukudzei Chingwere
FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza is ready for the final onslaught as the battle for the control of the league race take centre stage this afternoon, with the Castle Lager Premiership back after a break.
The platinum miners opened a six-point advantage just before the break and will host ZPC Kariba at Mandava while their nearest rivals Ngezi Platinum Stars will be away to newboys Herentals at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
“We are not worried about our closest rivals. We are thinking about ourselves as FC Platinum. Like I always say, the moment you start thinking about how your rivals are doing you put yourselves under pressure,’’ Mapeza said.
‘‘I don’t want to play with that pressure in our minds. Now we are going to concentrate on each and every game that we are going to play until the end of the season.’’
FC Platinum have been in devastating form, winning 14, drawing two and losing only once. Mapeza is aiming to build on that strong foundation to bolster their campaign as they look to win the championship back-to-back.
FC Platinum have nine games at home and eight away in the second half of the season.
The champions have brought in former Zimbabwe youth international Thomas Chideu to beef up their strikeforce.
Chicken Inn, who are a distant third in the championship race, will be away to giants Dynamos at Rufaro tomorrow.
The league took a mid-season break three weeks ago, coincidentally the same week that the World Cup kicked off. But the recess is now over and focus is now on the second round of the campaign.
The World Cup has also entered the quarter-finals stage and it appears supporters will have tough time to choose where to place their loyalty ahead of the 4pm clash between Sweden and England.
The Premier Soccer League have scheduled their kickoff early today to try and deal with the counter-attraction with Herentals and Ngezi Platinum clashing at 1:30pm for broadcast purposes.
Today: Herentals v Ngezi Platinum Stars (NSS, 1:30pm), Harare City v CAPS United (Rufaro, 2pm), FC Platinum v ZPC Kariba (Mandava, 2pm).
Tomorrow: Mutare City Rovers v Nichrut (Vengere), Dynamos v Chicken Inn (Rufaro), Black Rhinos v Highlanders (NSS), Bulawayo Chiefs v Yadah (Luveve), Triangle United v Shabanie Mine (Gibbo), Chapungu v Bulawayo City (Ascot)