Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
LOG leaders CAPS United host Herentals FC while second-placed Chicken Inn visit Harare City in Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounters between title challengers and relegation candidates this afternoon.
Interesting statistics going into these matches are that the title aspirants lost the reverse fixtures to the relegations threatened sides.
CAPS, who lead the standings with 50 points, have a tricky encounter this afternoon at the National Sports Stadium facing a Herentals that is just above the relegation zone only on superior goal difference.
Speaking to H-Metro, Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva said they are going into this battle with one result in mind – a win.
The Students won the reverse fixture 3-1.
“We need to survive, so we will work with the best of our abilities and obtain a positive result,” said Mutiwekuziva.
But Makepekepe coach Darlington Dodo said it is not the stage to drop points.
“We only have two choices here either to extend our lead or maintain it, we can’t afford to reduce it.
“We are at a crucial stage; we can’t be dropping points especially at this stage,” said Dodo.
Across town at Rufaro, other title aspirants Chicken Inn need to be at their best to collect maximum points against Lloyd Chitembwe’s Harare City who are just two points away from relegation.
And in a Twitter banter building up to this tricky Wednesday, Chicken Inn chose to highlight that they are facing Chitembwe, whom they defeated while still at CAPS United forgetting it is the City that defeated them 2-1 at their own backyard in the reverse fixture.
Even coach Joey Antipas admitted that they will not be underrating any team, especially teams that are in danger of relegation.
At Mandava, third-placed FC Platinum host Ngezi Platinum in another tricky encounter while fourth-placed ZPC Kariba are away to Chapungu, who are yet to be safe from relegation.
FC Platinum coach Lizwe Sweswe admitted the threat posed by Ngezi.
Ngezi have been doing well of late and their hopes of a top four finish have been rejuvenated as they are just three points behind fourth-placed Kariba who have 42 points.
Banking on miracles, Ngezi can be forgiven for dreaming of the championship – making this afternoon’s fixture a battle with purpose.
“Look we haven’t collected the desired points in the league in our previous matches. So we need to do be at our best against Ngezi. They are no pushovers, they are a threat and should also know that this a battle of ‘platinums’.
“We are going into this match knowing what is at stake, what I can just say is the boys are ready to battle,” said Sweswe.
ZPC Kariba coach Godfrey Tamirepi, who is now interested in championship talk, is even dreaming a double after defeating Manica Diamonds in the Chibuku Super Cup quarter finals.
“It’s going to be business as usual (against Chapungu). The desire is to collect maximum points and see how it goes.
“I am pleased with the spirit within the boys, it’s clear they are playing with hope,” said Tamirepi.