The Herald

Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
LOG leaders CAPS United and their closest title contestants FC Platinum have every reason to scratch their heads ahead of the penultimate round of the Castle Lager Premiership football championship race on Wednesday.

The Green Machine lead the race on 58 points, two ahead of the Zvishavane miners with two games to go before the curtain comes down on the season.

Makepekepe face Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab on Wednesday, the same day that FC Platinum host Black Rhinos at Mandava.

But both sides have to find a way to overcome their distinct problems before plunging into their respective tricky yet crunch fixtures.

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The Zvishavane team haven’t had a productive week in their CAF Champions league journey after suffering some back-to-back defeats in their opening two games.

FC Platinum lost 1-2 to Al-Hilal of Sudan in Khartoum last week before they were put to the guillotine by Tunisian giants Etoile du Sahel, losing 0-3 at Barbourfields on Saturday.

“We will have to work very hard to restore confidence in the team. We have been losing in the CAF Champions League and we don’t have to let that trend to affect us. We need to psyche up the players ahead of our league match against Black Rhinos on Wednesday,” said Lizwe Sweswe, the FC Platinum coach.

He said it will take some great deal of effort to restore confidence in his charges who looked so much confused against Etoile du Sahel.

“Of course, our own local league is different from the CAF Champions League but results from either can impact on your performance in the other. We need to quickly regroup and refocus for the Black Rhinos match.”

Sweswe fears fatigue could as well affect his troops who had to make it to Zvishavane after their weekend game in Bulawayo.
While Sweswe is battling to psyche up his players, his CAPS United opposite number Darlington Dodo has been dealt a blow after Valentine Musarurwa picked an injury at training.

The reliable defender might miss Wednesday’s game against Ngezi Platinum Stars and Dodo will have to be shrewd when picking his cards.

Spencer Masunda has been the natural replacement but he is also injury prone. If anything, he had to be stretchered off the field in CAPS United’s last game against Dynamos.

Valentine Ndaba is good offensively but vulnerable in defensive duties while Carlos Rusere is more or less the same with the former.

“We have not been so lucky in terms of retaining a fit squad this season. But this is the period of the season in which one would need a full complement of the squad,” said Dodo.

“Valentine Musarurwa is a key member of the team and you don’t want to miss him in an important game like the one on Wednesday. But we will have to do everything that we ought to do to win it.”

Makepekepe can win the title if they bag the maximum points against Ngezi Platinum Stars while FC Platinum lose to Black Rhinos.

If that doesn’t happen, well, the two sides meet in what will be an explosive decider at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday.