AFTER avoiding each other during the quarter-final draw for the Chibuku Super Cup last week, favourites FC Platinum and Highlanders will be looking to secure safe passage to the semi-finals when they face tricky ties against Triangle and How Mine respectively, today.
BY MUKUDZEI CHINGWERE/FORTUNE MBELE
FC Platinum are front-runners for the league crown this term after leading the race for the better part of this year’s marathon and a win at Gibbo Stadium today would see them remaining on course to a memorable league and cup double.
Coach Norman Mapeza, however, rubbished talks of a league and cup double this season, saying it was rather too early to even think of the cup triumph.
“Cup competitions are different: we will talk of winning the cup when we get to the final. At the moment we just hope to proceed to the next stage of the tournament,” he said in an earlier interview.
In the league, the miners triumphed away to Triangle and they will be hoping to write the same script this afternoon.
But Triangle United coach David Mandigora has other ideas coming into this tournament and is not intimidated by the form of their opponents.
“We have told our players that our only hope for the trophy is the Chibuku Cup and they know they have to be at their best to go all the way.
“For me, FC Platinum is the best team in the league and to be drawn against them was a challenge for us, but we will do our best to try and progress to the next stage of the tournament.
In the other Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final matches lined up for today, Highlanders will also face a stern test against a stubborn How Mine side at Barbourfields Stadium.
How Mine have already defied the odds in the cup competition after they bundled out giants Dynamos in the first round after a 5-4 penalty shootout victory at Rufaro two weeks ago.
And the gold miners’ coach Kelvin Kaindu refused to read much into their previous form against Highlanders after losing both league matches against the Bulawayo giants this season.
“Highlanders beat us in both encounters in the league, but we had better possession and just could not convert our chances. We conceded soft goals,” Kaindu said.
Highlanders came back from behind to beat Mutare City 2-1 in the first round through goals from Allen Gahadzikwa and veteran striker Ralph Matema with coach Erol Akbay calling on his charges to get the job done in regulation play time.
“We have worked hard on all aspects of our game for the tournament and I pray it doesn’t go to a penalty shoot-out. We have to win that match and it’s the only thing that matters to us,” Akbay said.