IF current form is anything to go by, Chicken Inn, who have gone on a six-match unbeaten run in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, have the edge over title contenders Ngezi Platinum Stars when the two sides clash at Luveve Stadium this afternoon.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Chicken Inn’s trailblazing form has seen them win their last three games and accumulating 16 points in six matches, with five wins and a draw and in the process scoring 12 goals and closing the gap on log-leaders FC Platinum and second-placed Ngezi Platinum.
Perched on the third spot with 40 points, they are seven points behind today’s opponents who have also won their last three games, having lost the previous four to Bulawayo Chiefs, FC Platinum, Black Rhinos and Herentals.
If Chicken Inn prevail over visiting Ngezi Platinum today, they will thrust themselves in contention for the title as they will be four points behind the Tonderai Ndiraya-coached side as FC Platinum, on 49 points, also a have tough match today against Chapungu at Mandava.
Before the season’s break Joey Antipas (pictured) had predicted a straight fight between the platinum miners, but he must be thinking differently now.
After completing a double over Shabanie Mine at Maglas Stadium last weekend with a 3-0 drubbing of the struggling Zvishavane-based side, Antipas said Chicken Inn’s objective was to win every game in the remaining 12 matches.
“The goal is to win every game left and with this kind of performance we are in the right direction,” Antipas said.
Chicken Inn lost 1-0 to Ngezi Platinum in April at Baobab Stadium.
In their last encounter, Ngezi Platinum came from behind to beat Nichrut 3-2 at Baobab and coach Ndiraya yesterday said it will not be easy against Chicken Inn at Luveve, but it was looking forward to maintaining their winning streak after the last three games where they have collected maximum points.
“It is going to be a difficult game for us. Chicken Inn have been doing well of late and the fact that we are playing a side that wants to reduce the points gap makes the match an interesting one and very difficult. We have prepared well and hope the boys will fight hard. It’s not easy playing Chicken Inn at their fortress,” Ndiraya said.
FC Platinum will be looking to collect maximum points against a relegation threatened Chapungu side in a highly anticipated Midlands derby at Mandava.
The goal for Norman Mapeza’s side is to maintain their gap with Ngezi Platinum Stars, but a draw in Bulawayo would favour the Zvishavane-based side, particularly if they dispatch of their business well.
In Harare, Caps United will be hoping their flickering title flame burns when they take on Herentals at Rufaro Stadium.
The Green Machine have struggled for goals since they began the second half of the season, but with the acquisition of Mitchelle Katsvairo, Lloyd Chitembwe will be optimistic of a better return.
They have only scored once in their last four matches.
Highlanders return to action for the first time in three weeks when they travel to Gweru for a date with Nichrut.
Nichrut have manufactured some good results in the second half of the season and will fancy their chances against Bosso. It should be another interesting match when the two square up as Bosso will be seeking to push up the table too.
Today: Chicken Inn v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Luveve), Nichrut v Highlanders (Ascot), Herentals v Caps United (Rufaro), FC Platinum v Chapungu (Mandava), Black Rhinos v Bulawayo City (NSS).
Tomorrow: Mutare City v Shabanie (Vengere), Bulawayo City v Harare City (Luveve), Dynamos v ZPC Kariba (Rufaro), Triangle v Yadah (Gibbo).