FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza faces the mammoth task of beating a confidence-oozing Highlanders outfit when the two sides clash in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields this afternoon.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Last weekend, the platinum miners struggled against Tsholotsho FC in their opening game of the season and narrowly-edged the Lizwe Sweswe-coached side 2-1 at Mandava, getting the winner seven minutes before the death through Zambian striker Obrey Chirwa.
Despite getting the maximum points, Mapeza said it was work in progress at the platinum miners.
“There are a lot of positives, but there is a lot of work to be done,” said Mapeza, who was enthralled by new signings Hillary Bakacheza and Nqobizitha Masuku.
Bakacheza joined FC Platinum from Triangle, while Masuku will be facing his former paymasters Highlanders.
In their last visit to Barbourfields Stadium in pre-season, FC Platinum held Highlanders to a 1-1 draw in regulation time. Walter Musona struck with 18 minutes to the final whistle to cancel Bruce Kangwa’s first half goal, but the Zvishavane-based outfit went on to lose 3-4 in a penalty shoot-out allowing Highlanders to progress to the final of the Zimbabwe National Army Charity Shield.
Highlanders’ gaffer Erol Akbay says he is ready for FC Platinum after Bosso walloped Hwange 3-0 at the Colliery last Sunday.
“We are ready and not afraid of Platinum. Everybody is trying hard and the guys are eager,” Akbay said.
Veteran striker Ralph Matema has been ruled out of the match after he picked up a knock against Hwange.
“I have told him [Matema] to rest. He is definitely not playing on Sunday [today],” Akbay said.
In Matema’s absence, Prince Dube is likely to make it to the starting line-up, partnering Knox Mutizwa upfront.
Mutizwa notched a brace against Hwange, with the other goal coming from Kangwa who has been impressive so far for Highlanders.