. . . Tough run-in for contenders
Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
THE 2019 Premiership looks set to go to the wire as the leading teams have failed to stamp authority and, instead, look nervous.
Chicken Inn for the better part of mid-season and now both CAPS United and FC Platinum have dropped points in matches they would be expected to win, thereby keeping the destiny of the title a mystery.
Leaders CAPS United, with 51 points, fell 2-0 at TelOne while second-placed FC Platinum (49 points) lost 1-0 at home to Bulawayo Chiefs. Third placed Chicken Inn (46 points) were not in action following the postponement of their match against Triangle, leaving them with a game in hand.
Fourth-placed ZPC Kariba benefitted as they defeated Black Rhinos 1-0 to move to 45 points.
The other teams out of the top four like Ngezi Platinum and Black Rhinos, who are on 42 points, mathematically stand a chance with 15 points to play for – but with the aid of miracles.
Though the chasing pack has been inconsistent, this year’s title could come down to who has the better run of fixtures in the remaining five.
Coach Darlington Dodo was left disappointed after the defeat to TelOne on Sunday but called his players to show character in the remaining fixtures if they are to entertain any hope of winning the championship.
“Fortunate enough we are still on top, we have to work on our mistakes and show the character,” said Dodo.
CAPS meet two of the title contenders – ZPC Kariba in their next assignment and FC Platinum in the last fixture.
Makepekepe will also play bitter rivals Dynamos, another potential party spoiler.
Dodo’s men have been bad travelers of late and their fans should be worried knowing that they still have to travel to Ngezi Platinum.
vs ZPC Kariba (H)
vs Yadah (A)
vs Dynamos (H)
vs Ngezi Platinum (A)
vs FC Platinum (H)
While the last game of the season against CAPS United looks the most difficult test, they also have tricky fixtures including Highlanders and Chapungu.
The platinum miners’ coach Lizwe Sweswe told H-Metro that he is not worried about other teams’ business.
“Like I have always said, we are concentrating on our games which we have control over though sometimes it goes against the plans. We will take each game as it comes and see how the season ends. I just call for unity,” said Sweswe.
vs Manica Diamonds (A)
vs Highlanders (H)
vs Chapungu (A)
vs Black Rhinos (H)
vs CAPS United (A)
On paper, the gamecocks have a comfortable schedule but they need to be reminded that five of their remaining opponents are in the bottom six and fighting for survival. This can only work to their advantage if some of the teams are to be confirmed relegated in the process and would have nothing to play for. They, however, have a game in hand against Triangle, itself a tricky fixture.
Coach Joey Antipas remains hopeful but demanded his players to put in more effort.
“The players have got to put more effort and more desire to win games, we cannot be brilliant one week and poor the next week,” said Antipas.
vs Triangle (H)
vs Mushowani (A)
vs Hwange (H)
vs Bulawayo Chiefs (A)
vs Herentals (A)
vs TelOne (H)
Godfrey Tamirepi’s men have the chance of clinching their maiden championship but their remaining games are also a cause for concern.
Tamirepi knows the daunting task ahead but he remains confident of reaching the dreamland.