Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
FC Platinum host tricky customers Chapungu United in the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup at Mandava Stadium today hoping to exorcise the ghosts that haunted them last year and in 2017.
The airmen are yet to register a win against Pure Platinum Play or find the goals in all their league encounters but they have had the better of their defending league champions in the Chibuku Super Cup.
In 2017, the airmen dumped the platinum miners out of the cup through a Brighton Mugoni’s goal from the spot and last season, the two Midlanders clashed again with Chapungu emerging 5-4 winners after shootout, the match having ended two apiece in regulation time.
So this afternoon, Lizwe Sweswe’s boys, who have shown signs of fatigue after crisscrossing the country and even into neighbouring Mozambique in the last couple of weeks, need to summon all their courage to overcome the airmen.
“The boys are okay but we are working flat out to manage their clear fatigue. It has really affected us big time,” said Sweswe.
After their dramatic match in the Total Caf Champions League against UD Songo in Beira, Mozambique, the boys were in action against TelOne just four days later.
Three days after drawing 0-0 against Rahman Gumbo’s TelOne, they were on the road to Kariba for a top of the table clash against ZPC Kariba this past Saturday.
Progression in the Cup will set on course for a possible treble as they are in the Caf Champions League group stage and are still very much in the race to retain the Castle Lager Premiership title.
“Winning the league title remains our main objective as it takes us to the Champions League but this is not to say we are taking the Chibuku Super Cup lightly, no, not at all, we are going all out to win and who knows, things might happen,” said Sweswe.
Key players for the airmen will be goalkeeper Tallbert Shumba, dribbling menace Ian Nyoni, Edmore Muzanenhamo, Denver Mukamba and ageless Philip Marufu while for the hosts, the exploits of midfield enforcer and perfect candidate for the calendar Kelvin Madzongwe and his partners, Rainsome Pavari, Devon Chafa, lively winger Gift Mbweti, youngster Perfect Chikwende, evergreen Never Tigere, another player for the calendar, reigning Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere will be key to Pure Platinum’s quest for goals. In defence, one of the best goalkeepers on the local scene Petros Mhari will be the last line of defence, ably supported by Gift Bello, Lawrence Mhlanga and William Stima.