Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
TROUBLED Castle Lager Premier Soccer League anchors Bulawayo City head into today’s derby against Chicken Inn with odds on their side having won three out of the last five meetings against the Gamecocks.
City appear to be headed for the unfashionable Southern Region Division One Soccer League, ending their three-year flirtation with the topflight league as they occupy the bottom slot of the table with just 15 points.
The local authority bankrolled side have gone for nine games without a victory, with their last win being on June 16 when they beat Mutare City 1-0 at home.
The best result that they have collected in their last nine games was a July 14 1-1 draw against Harare City, which was followed by seven consecutive defeats.
Bulawayo City, who have a mathematical chance of miraculously escaping the relegation axe, will battle for pride, hoping to emerge victorious against a Chicken Inn side that is also licking its wounds from the 1-2 home loss against Caps United.
The question that football enthusiasts may ask is, will Bulawayo City live true to the popular adage “last kicks of a dying horse are dangerous?”
On paper, Bulawayo City have what looks like a strong squad with “big” name players.
Seasoned goalkeeper, Munyaradzi Diya, former national team defender Zephaniah Ngodzo, defenders Zibusiso Sibanda and Crispen Ncube who had a short stint in Slovakia, midfielders Sipho Ndlovu and Innocent Kutsanzira, as well as forwards Lucky Nyathi, Nhlanhla Ndlovu and former Young Warriors striker Mgcini Sibanda appear to have failed to get Bulawayo City out of the relegation quagmire.
Chicken Inn will be hoping to pile misery on Bulawayo City and further condemn them to relegation.
Having fluffed a number of scoring opportunities and conceding a “dubious” penalty against Caps United, Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas will want his players to get over that setback quickly.
Players expected to carry the day for third placed Chicken Inn include the defence quartet of Passmore Bernard, Moses Jackson, Last Sithole and Ben Nyahunzwi, midfielders Simon Munawa, Innocent Mucheneka, George Majika as well as Clemence Matawu. Chicken Inn’s find of the season Obriel Chirinda could partner either Obidiah Tarumbwa or Darryl Nyandoro upfront.
Bulawayo Chiefs are in action tomorrow against Triangle United at Luveve Stadium, hard-pressed for a victory.
Chiefs lost 0-1 away to Herentals while Triangle picked a valuable point against Harare City in a match which ended 1-1.
In the championship matrix, leaders FC Platinum will be hoping to complete a double over Herentals when they faceoff at Mandava Stadium this afternoon.
FC Platinum beat Herentals 2-1 in the reverse fixture.
FC Platinum are two points ahead of Ngezi Platinum Stars who have a tricky encounter against relegation threatened Yadah who will be out for revenge.
Ngezi clobbered Yadah 5-0 in the first leg played at Baobab Stadium.
Today: FC Platinum v Herentals (Mandava), Bulawayo City v Chicken Inn (Barbourfields), ZPC Kariba v Highlanders (Nyamhunga), Yadah v Ngezi
Platinum Stars (Rufaro), Caps United v Shabanie Mine (National Sports Stadium)
Tomorrow: Chapungu v Nichrut (Ascot), Bulawayo Chiefs v Triangle United (Luveve), Harare City v Dynamos (Rufaro), Black Rhinos v Mutare City
Rovers (National Sports Stadium)