By Jafferson Ndhlovu,
Chapungu FC v Harare City
Between them they have a combined 11from a possible 48 points and 1 win out of the possible 15 wins. That’s the story of two relegation placed team set to meet at Ascot Stadium this Saturday afternoon.
To be honest both coaches are treading on dangerous grounds. It wouldn’t surprise many if at changes are made in that department sooner than in those department.
The “Sunshine Boys” will be arriving to the out of sorts Airmen at their once fortress Ascot Stadium but seemingly these days team are strolling and walking out with either one or three points. Chapungu can’t seem to find the solution. The departure of coach Nyikadzino who shepherded the to top flight football two seasons ago has not helped the situation. Yes the results were good when the coach was asked to leave the bench at the end of last season. But it has actually been getting worse by the day.
On the other hand Harare City seem to be heavily struggling. They too with a new mentor after the non renewal of the contract of Moses Chunga, appear to br struggling heavily. Clearly Harare City is one the best paying teams in the league and has a relatively good set of players. Who by any measure should somewhere in the top four not in the bottom four.
The game at Ascot Stadium is game of survival for both these sides. Football troubles don’t come as fast as these.
Tsholitsho v Bulawayo City
Council side Bulawayo City started the season on a brighter note but suddenly the steam has withered and surrendering points left right and centre.
They visit Bulawayo based side Tsholotsho who this opted to have Dulivhadzimu as their home ground. Hoping to capitalise on what was supposed to be atown starved of premiership football, after local side Border Strikers FC was relegated.
From a fan base point of view it was a good move. In terms of results, nothing to write home about. They have not record a single win this season both home and away. But with bruised Bulawayo City arriving they would hope to collect their first three points of the season.
But its a match pundits would have difficulty in calling.
Bantu Rovers v Highlanders
Red hot Bantu Rovers striker Bakhosi Sibanda will once again test his goal poaching instincts against season campaigners Highlanders FC this Saturday at the Barbourfield Stadium. The April 2017 players of star is relishing his chances to score more goals. He is the only player to score a hattrick in this calendar season. And it would be important to note that hat tricks are a rare trait in the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer league.
The boy is feeling aplomb of that aspect after scoring scoring three in their 7-2 demolition of their fellow promotion side Yadah FC.
Asked about the game against neighbours Sibanda had this to say “Highlanders are a big club and we are ready for the encounter. We have prepared well for the game, we’re going to stick to our game plan and try to do what we’ve been practising. Otherwise we’re going out to express ourselves, enjoy the game and hope for a positive result,” Sibanda said.
On the other side Highlanders coach, Dutchman Erol Akbay is fuming with his senior players. He is point to the fact that they have taken underrating the so called small teams. “I’m pissed off with the way first team players apply themselves when we play teams that are at the bottom. They were too confident against Chapungu and Harare City. They thought that those games were a piece of cake, which is wrong. When we play big teams they give their best, fight for every ball, but when it’s small teams, they don’t even run an extra three metres to fight for the ball,” said Akbay.
“I’m going to make wholesome changes and use a different team on Saturday. Maybe the guys that have not been playing can give me the result that I want.
Maybe the first team players are in a comfort zone and have to move away from that and fight for places.”
The Highlanders gaffer said he will carry the cross should the move to leave out regulars backfire.
“This is a risk that I’m willing to take and who knows, sometimes gambling pays,” Akbay concluded.
FC Platinum v Yadah Stars
Yadah Stars will arrive in Zvishavane hoping to avoid a fourth successive loss. But the battle field they are arriving at is not for kids.
FC Platinum though have not been convincing this season winning and drawing matches and that has been a huge concern for the moneybags. The technical team should be weary of the visitors who are bringing to this match a whole lot of emotions and determination to rectify and get back to the first few games form.
Mapeza and his boys need to up their game otherwise they could soon be left far off the early pace setters.
Ngezi Platinum v ZPC Kariba
A class of early season pacesetters. Tondorei Ndirayi welcomes to Baobab stadium the man he could great for success career as players at Dynamos in Sunday Chidzambwa. It’s practically a battle of teacher versus student. Mhofu as Chidzambwa is affectionately called in the football fraternity coached Tonderai at the legendary Club. Where Chidzambwa was a success both as player and coach. So did his student as player. Ndiraya too was assistant at Dynamos and for a good season as head coach. Before he moved to his current club.
He will hoping to out manoeuvre the man he knows too well in tactical shrewdness on the field of play. It would be surprising to see some of those tactics Ndirayi employs today are borrowed from Chidzambwa.
ZPC Kariba has been in sensational for in the last few games. Quitely meandering their way to the summit with 18 points. Its this tally Ngezi Platinum will hoping to stop sooner rather than later. Not an easy ask.
Dynamos v Shabanie
National Sports Stadium
These are matches Dynamos in years past all football followers would easily call as straight three points. But its not the case anymore.
As Shabanie Mine arrive they will be fancying their chances at inflicting more pain on the Dynamos.
Dembare are sad team at moment. The week three rescheduled match went against their as they lost to inform Black Rhinos through a goal that unprocessed social media clips indicate the ball did not cross the line. But again they too got luck on what was disallowed as the second goal for Chipembere as offside. From footage observed it never an offside.
Coach “Samaita” Llyod Mutasa has refused to blame one player as the casualty of that loss. Choosing to be diplomatic calling it a team loss.
Mutasa had run changes in the team but it all seemed to work against his strategy.
Arriving at the NSS is the unpredictable Shabanie Mine. They are a premiership return. They can cause a terrible upset that could make the administration at Dembare start to question their technical team.
Triangle v Howmine
Zambian coach Kelvin Kaindu returns to his former club in this sugar town of Chiredzi. Before joining Howmine Kaindu was at Triangle and had some good results with the same team.
He knows the team quite a bit and should fancy his chances to punish his former paymasters. Six points separate these two sides. With the host Triangle on 8 points from 8 games. That’s a ratio of 1 point per game in 11th place
On the other Howmine is on 14 points and 6th on the table.
An interesting encounter on the cards and with all the ingredients of stalemate after 90 minutes.
Black Rhinos v Hwange
Morris Deport Grounds
Chauya Chipembere – Black Rhinos will be hosting Hwange at the Morris Deport Ground the traditional grounds for the State Police.
They are one of the form teams at moment. Nice set in second place on 17, not many expected them to be were they are. But this is football. Sometimes darkhorses can bring life to a dull moment. And this is the story of Chipembere.
Meantime their opponents Hwange struggling in dangerous place and actually see themselves in the by Monday morning. They are just a point above relegation teams.