RED-hot FC Platinum take on defending champions Dynamos in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) match at Mandava Stadium on Saturday after the international break to make way for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers over the past weekend.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Both sides are chasing log leaders Chicken Inn for the 2015 title with DeMbare eyeing their fifth consecutive title, while their hosts on Saturday seek their first championship since gaining promotion to the top flight league in 2011.
It has been a so-near-yet-so-far situation for the Zvishavane-based outfit.
Dynamos are on second spot with 39 points, four behind the GameCocks, who host struggling ZPC Kariba at Luveve Stadium also on Saturday, while the platinum miners are on 38 points.
Both Dynamos and FC Platinum have not lost a match in the six outings of the second half of the 2015 PSL season, with the Glamour Boys coach Tonderai Ndiraya yet to lose a league match since taking over from veteran David “Yogi” Mandigora, who was fired after seven months at the helm.
Mandigora took over at the beginning of the season from four successive titles winning coach Kalisto Pasuwa.
Yogi was fired after a 1-1 draw with Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium in July with Ndiraya losing to Bosso in the ZNA Charities Shield final in his first game in charge at the beginning of August before beating ZPC Kariba 2-1 at Rufaro, Triangle 2-0 at Gibbo, a 1-1 draw to Tsholotsho at BF and beating How Mine 1-0 in the last outing at Rufaro on August 30 before the break.
In the second half of the season, Mandigora had also played a goalless draw against Hwange at Rufaro and that makes it three wins and three draws for Dynamos.
FC Platinum’s Norman Mapeza, the Castle Lager Coach of the Month for June/July, had a slow start in the first half of the season, but has posted five victories in six matches in the second half beating Chapungu 2-0 and Hwange by the same scoreline at Mandava.
He also clobbered Buffaloes 3-0 at Sakubva, beat Highlanders 2-1 at BF and Triangle 1-0 at Gibbo in the last outing.
FC Platinum have only been held to a goalless draw by ZPC Kariba in the second half of the season. But in the last four years, Dynamos have dominated FC Platinum beating them 1-0 in the first half of the season this year at Rufaro on May 10 under Mandigora.
Last year DeMbare beat FC Platinum 1-0 in May in Harare before playing a goalless draw at Mandava in September.
In 2013 it was a 1-1 draw in Harare in May with the platinum miners beating Dynamos 2-0 at Mandava in October.
Dynamos completed the double over Platinum in 2012 beating them 2-1 in July at Mandava and 2-0 in Harare in August.
When FC Platinum were promoted in 2011 they also lost both matches to the Glamour Boys 0-2 in April in Harare and 1-0 at Mandava in November becoming runners-up in the league behind Dynamos.
Flame Lily, facing relegation, entertain Hwange at Lafarge Stadium on Saturday.
Triangle, on fourth spot with 36 points, were displaced from second spot after losing to Dynamos and FC Platinum and being held by How Mine, could be out to regain lost pride with coach Kelvin Kaindu taking on WhaWha at Ascot on Sunday.
Highlanders, who last week fired gaffer Bongani Mafu, replacing him with former player and manager Amin Soma-Phiri after three successive losses, travel to the capital on Saturday for date with Harare City, who are in position five with 31 points.
How Mine, also on 31 points, are away to struggling Tsholotsho at White City on Sunday.
In other matches, Caps United, who have also replaced Mark Mathe with Lloyd Chitembwe, having three coaches at the helm in one season, host Buffaloes at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday while troubled Dongo Sawmilll host Chapungu at Vengere.
Source : NewsDayZimbabwe