Champions FC Platinum could thrust themselves in the history books by becoming the first team from outside Harare and Bulawayo to win back-to-back Premier Soccer League titles should they claim the Zvishavane derby against relegated Shabanie at Maglas this afternoon.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Last year, FC Platinum became only the second club from outside Harare and Bulawayo to win the league title emulating St Paul’s Musami of Murehwa who won it in 1966.
Pure Platinum Play wrapped up the league trophy in a Midlands derby against Chapungu on the final day last season and this time they could do it with two games to spare, a few kilometres away from home.
In the past, the fixture was one of the fiercest derbies in the local league, fuelled by the fiery animosity that exists between the two sides, a battle between the “haves” and the “have nots”
But Shabanie, because of their poverty, often receiving hand-outs from their well-heeled rivals, have failed to sustain the fight in recent years. And today very few expect them to bite the hand that sometimes feeds them.
In other words, FC Platinum, needing just a point, are as good as champions.
Or are they?
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“Personally, I want this to be a memorable day for me in Shabanie Mine colours and also to enhance the pride of the Maglas community by getting a positive result. Derbies are full of surprises and we are preparing for this day,” Shabanie’s youthful mentor Alexio Sigion warned FC Platinum.
“We are fighting to end the season with at least something to brag about even though we are already relegated. The boys will be marketing themselves for greener pastures and I have kept on telling them that they should put up a brave show because such matches can open doors,” he added.
The platinum miners sit on top of the log standings with 71 points and a nine-point advantage over their nearest challengers, Ngezi Platinum.
Ngezi can only finish with a maximum points total of 71 if they win all the remaining assignments.
This means a draw or a win can prompt another red carpet walk to the podium for Norman Mapeza’s charges.
However, Mapeza is very alert to the possibility of the Shinda Boys raising dust upon his club’s victory celebrations.
“We are at a very crucial stage of the season. Like I said before, we have to push hard to grind out a result for us to stay within range of our set objectives.We can only talk of winning the league title after playing our last game of the season,” he said.
“As for now, it is still work in progress. No need to rush into celebrations because in football anything is possible. We have to keep the same mentality and attitude until the season ends, then we can start talking about a party,” Mapeza added.
Shabanie Mine anchors the log standing with 19 points from 31 starts and would need something like a miracle to upstage FC Platinum.
The Shinda Boys have not beaten their fancied rivals in their previous six meetings, managing just two draws and four defeats.
Mutare City v CAPS United, Highlanders v Harare City, Ngezi Platinum v Bulawayo Chiefs, Dynamos v Triangle United.