Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
CALVIN Maphosa is confident of bringing Premiership football back to Kwekwe by guiding army side Tongogara back into the topflight after more than a decade in oblivion.
Tongogara lead the pack in the Central Soccer League courtesy of a superior goal difference over TelOne, with both sides tied on 38 points after 20 games.
Two games are left before the season ends and Maphosa, whose side was beaten to the championship by Nichrut at this stage of the season believes his charges are psyched up to avoid last year’s disappointment.
They will bank on home advantage tomorrow when they play host to Sheasham and will cap their season with an away game against TelOne.
“There’s only one thing in our minds right now, winning. We are not distracted by anything and our target is to get this championship and be in the PSL. Last season we lost the championship to Nichrut two games before the end of the season and we can’t afford to make the same mistake. The players are mentally prepared and are showing hunger to get the Premiership ticket. We’re are just two games away from realizing our dream and we can’t let that slip like we did last season,” said Maphosa.
He is not worried that their last game is away at championship chasing TelOne.
“Right now our focus is on winning our game against Sheasham and then going to pick maximum points at TelOne. This season we haven’t lost a game on the road and we don’t intend to break that record by losing away to TelOne,” Maphosa said.
TelOne, coached by former national team winger Joel Luphahla are wary of their trip to Blanket Mine, about 15km from Gwanda town.
Luphahla has been trying to get his players to ease up ahead of the encounter.
“It’s a tricky game against Blanket Mine because we face them wounded having lost consecutive games on the road against Sheasham and Tongogara. Obviously playing at home they will want to get back to winning ways.
“I’ve told my boys to take this game like any other match and let me worry about the pressure because some of them have never been at this stage where they are racing for the title with a few games left,” said Luphahla.
Both Tongogara and TelOne cannot afford to slip as former Premiership side Whawha, third on the table tied on 35 points with ZPC Munyati are on standby to pounce at the 11th hour.
Whawha are at Mandava Stadium, Zvishavane tomorrow to face FC Platinum Under-19s while ZPC Munyati visit the students, MSU. Both are tricky games for Whawha and power generators ZPC Munyati who are praying that the top two teams lose.
Tomorrow: Tongogara v Sheasham (Battlefields), Blanket Mine v TelOne (Blanket), Platinum Under-19 v Whawha (Mandava), Lesaffre v Vumbachikwe (Wilson Fields), MSU v ZPC Munyati (MSU), Black Eagles v Ivan Hoe Mine (Simbi)
Week 22: TelOne v Tongogara, Whawha v Blanket Mine, Vumbachikwe v Platinum Under-19, ZPC Munyati v Lesaffre, Ivan Hoe Mine v MSU, Sheasham v Black Eagles
P W D L F A GD Pts
Tongogara 20 10 8 2 24 10 14 38
TelOne 20 10 8 2 29 17 12 38
Whawha 20 9 8 3 30 18 12 35
ZPC Munyati 20 10 5 5 26 16 10 35
Sheasham 20 8 8 5 21 14 7 31
Ivan Hoe Mine 20 9 3 8 26 24 2 30
MSU 20 7 8 5 19 14 5 29
FC Platinum 20 7 4 9 24 23 1 25
Vumbachikwe 20 6 4 10 14 32 -8 22
Blanket Mine 20 4 4 12 10 26 -16 16
FC Lasaffre 20 5 1 14 21 41 -20 16
Black Eagles 20 3 4 13 14 33 -19 13