Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Chicken Inn and Ngezi Platinum Stars’ Castle Lager Premiership clash at Luveve Stadium this afternoon is the pick of the weekend games that see traditional giants Highlanders and Dynamos return to action after three weeks of inactivity.
Highlanders and Dynamos were last in action on July 22, with Bosso winning 1-0 away at Triangle United while DeMbare lost 0-1 at home to championship chasing Ngezi Platinum Stars.
The giants’ return to action is something that fascinates their fans even though neither of the two sides are within the title matrix.
Highlanders are away to relegation threatened Nichrut, a side that they beat 1-0 at Barbourfields Stadium in the first leg and their legion of fans who are planning to descend in numbers in Gweru this afternoon will be hoping that Bosso completes a double over the league debutantes.
In Harare, Dynamos play host to ZPC Kariba.
However, focus will be at Luveve Stadium in Bulawayo where 2015 league champions Chicken Inn, who are third on the table, play host to second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Chicken Inn trail leaders FC Platinum, who are on 49 points, by nine points and are seven points behind their opponents.
The Gamecocks, who are on a six-match unbeaten streak where they’ve won five games and played to one draw, will be out to maintain their consistency with coach Joey Antipas hopeful of a positive result.
Last weekend Chicken Inn clobbered Shabanie Mine 3-0 in Zvishavane courtesy of second half goals by Darryl Nyandoro, Innocent Mucheneka and Obidiah Tarumbwa while Ngezi Platinum Stars needed a late goal to beat a stubborn Nichrut 3-2 at Baobab Stadium.
“In the first half of the season consistency let us down as we drew a number of games and right now it seems we are getting our combinations right. What is important now is to be more precise and show composure in front of goal. Ngezi Platinum Stars are a good side but we are ready for them,” said Antipas.
Chicken Inn’s midseason signing, defender Last Sithole who joined them from Bulawayo Chiefs, seems to have easily settled and is expected to partner Moses Jackson in the heart of defence. Simon Munawa, enjoying his game since moving to the Gamecocks at the beginning of the season, Mucheneka,
Clemence Matawu and George Majika form a dependable midfield quartet with Obrey Chirinda, who was voted the Player of the Month for July, as well as Nyandoro, expected to lead their attack.
Players expected to lead Ngezi Platinum Stars’ onslaught include defenders Polite Moyo and Liberty Chakoroma, utility player Godknows Murwira, midfielders Xolisani Moyo and Walter Mukanga as well as forwards James Nguluve and Clive Augusto.
Tomorrow, Bulawayo Chiefs host Harare City in what could be a thriller with the former fighting for survival while the latter are hoping to fine tune their squad before participating in the Caf Confederation Cup qualifiers.
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 (National Sports Stadium)
Tomorrow: Mutare City Rovers v Shabanie Mine (Vengere), Bulawayo Chiefs v Harare City (Luveve), Dynamos v ZPC Kariba (Rufaro), Triangle United v Yadah (Gibbo)