ZVISHAVANE-SHABANIE MINE have warned FC Platinum not to expect to be handed the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title on a silver platter, promising their town rivals hell when the two teams meet in the Zvishavane derby on Sunday, in a clash that could decide this year’s championship race.
FC Platinum need to avoid a defeat to lift the title at the home of their number one enemy, with two games to spare.
Shabanie Mine are already relegated and have nothing to play for in this famous derby except for bragging rights, but the Chinda Boys have warned their rivals not to expect red carpet treatment.
“It’s a game that comes with a lot of pressure to us and our neighbours because it is a derby. We are out of it, but this match remains big for us and our supporters so we are not going to hand over points to them easily,” Shabanie Mine coach Alexio Sigion said.
“We are fighting to end the season with at least something to brag about even though we are already relegated. The boys will be marketing themselves for greener pastures and I have kept on telling them that they should put up a brave show because such matches can open doors. Personally, I want this to be a memorable day for me in Shabanie Mine colours and also enhance the pride of the Maglas community by getting a positive result. Derbies are full of surprises and we are preparing for this day,” Sigion said.
FC Platinum are nine points clear of their nearest challengers, Ngezi Platinum Stars, with three games to play.
So even if they lose the Zvishavane derby, which is unlikely considering the two teams’ present form, the league leaders can still clinch the title if Ngezi fail to win at home against Bulawayo Chiefs on the same day.
Currently on 71 points, a draw for the Norman Mapeza-coached men would see them reach an unassailable 72 points as Ngezi can only finish with a maximum points total of 71.
The log leaders look like they are in a very comfortable position, but with the top two teams meeting next week, Mapeza would want to finish the job this weekend as he knows that prolonging the fight will only make their situation complex.
Match Day 32 fixtures
Tomorrow: Yadah v Bulawayo City (Rufaro), ZPC Kariba v Chapungu (Nyamhunga), Chicken Inn v Black Rhinos (Luveve), Nichrut v Herentals (Ascot)
Sunday: Highlanders v Harare City (Barbourfields), Mutare City Rovers v Caps (Vengere), Shabanie Mine v FC Platinum (Maglas), Dynamos v Triangle (Rufaro), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Bulawayo Chiefs (Baobab)-NEWSDAY