Bulawayo City dare to dream as they head to FC Platinum
Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
RELEGATION threatened Bulawayo City are praying for a positive result when they face champions FC Platinum in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Mandava Stadium on Sunday.
The local authority-bankrolled side’s coach Farai Tawachera is aware of the mammoth assignment that his team has against a high-riding FC Platinum who are unbeaten in 14 league games.
Bulawayo City are facing FC Platinum for the eighth time, having lost six of their last seven encounters and drawing once 1-1 in 2017.
Bulawayo City go into the game licking wounds from their 2-1 home defeat to Cranborne Bullets, while FC Platinum won by a similar score line away at Whawha.
Pure Platinum Play, who are chasing a league and cup double, top the PSL standings with 58 points, eight ahead of second placed Dynamos who will pray that Bulawayo City does the “Lord’s work” by pulling a shocker against the Zvishavane side while they collect maximum points against Ngezi Platinum Stars in Harare.
Having booked a Chibuku Super Cup semi-final place after claiming Dynamos’ scalp, FC Platinum, 14 points away from claiming a fourth consecutive Premiership title to join Highlanders and DeMbare who have achieved the same feat.
But with seven games left, Bulawayo City who are third from the bottom with 24 points remain hopeful of surviving relegation and go into the weekend encounter as underdogs. The local authority side is four points away from safety, position 14 which is held by ZPC Kariba on 24 points and play host to mid-table Black Rhinos.
Bulawayo City coach Farai Tawachera is looking forward to a good game against the champions.
“To be honest, we’re praying to get a positive result. It won’t be an easy game playing the champions who are going through a good run, but we believe in our abilities. Off late we’ve been losing but if you check at those matches we lost, our attitude has been fantastic.
“That we play FC Platinum at resumption of the league games is a blessing in the sense that we go there as underdogs, with little pressure and the match on its own is self-motivating to players. The other thing motivating us is that we’re not far-away from other teams with 21 points to play for also gives us hope to keep fighting,” Tawachera said.
The Bulawayo City gaffer said fans should expect an entertaining game as both sides like to play passing game.
Tawachera said they have to be tactically disciplined, stick to their game plan if they are to manage a positive result at FC Platinum.
Bulawayo City’s technical team is hoping that seasoned central midfielder Welcome Ndiweni recovers from a knock that kept him out of last week’s training on time for the trip to FC Platinum.
Some of the players that City will bank on include utility player Leslie Lunga, central defender Mpumelelo Moyo, skipper Melikhaya Ncube, forwards Genius Mutungamiri and veteran Obidiah Tarumbwa.
They also have striker Rodi Sibanda and Dalubuhle Dlodlo as attacking options.
Bulawayo City will need to be at their best to breach FC Platinum’s backline whose last man of defencce has been impressive goalkeeper Wallace Magalane who has conceded two goals in 14 games.
FC Platinum have a solid squad that has among other players who have been in good form midfield duo of Rainsome Pavvari and Brian Banda, defence pair of Gift Bello and Lawrence Mhlanga, as well as forwards Walter Musona and Thandolwenkosi Ngwenya.
PSL Matchday 28 fixtures
Saturday: ZPC Kariba v Black Rhinos (Nyamhunga, 1pm), Cranborne Bullets v Highlanders (Vengere), FC Platinum v Bulawayo City (Mandava), Yadah v Caps United (National Sports Stadium), Chicken Inn v Whawha (Luveve), Tenax CS FC v Harare City (Sakubva)
Sunday: Dynamos v Ngezi Platinum Stars (National Sports Stadium), Bulawayo Chiefs v Manica Diamonds (Luveve), Triangle United v Herentals (Gibbo)
P W D L F A GD Pts
FC Platinum 27 17 7 3 40 9 31 58
Dynamos 27 14 8 5 30 13 17 50
Chicken Inn 27 14 6 7 33 25 8 48
Highlanders 27 11 11 5 36 22 14 44
Herentals 27 10 11 6 29 23 6 41
Ngezi Platinum Stars 27 10 10 7 31 13 18 40
Manica Diamonds 27 9 12 6 29 23 6 39
Black Rhinos 27 9 12 7 29 24 5 39
Triangle United 27 10 9 8 31 27 4 39
Bulawayo Chiefs 27 9 9 8 23 23 0 36
Cranborne Bullets 27 10 4 9 28 36 -8 34
Yadah 27 7 11 13 22 25 -3 32
Caps United 27 7 10 9 26 33 -7 31
ZPC Kariba 27 6 10 11 13 21 -8 28
Harare City 27 4 12 11 15 24 -9 24
Bulawayo City 27 6 6 11 20 36 -16 24
Tenax 27 5 7 15 17 44 -27 22
Whawha 27 5 5 17 23 49 -26 20