Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions will be crowned on Saturday, either at the National Sports Stadium in Harare or Gweru’s Ascot Stadium.
Saturday will be an epic day in the domestic Premiership, as four teams, Harare City, Bulawayo City, Hwange and Shabanie Mine, will be involved in survival battles. From the four, two sides will join Bantu Rovers and Tsholotsho, who have already been relegated.
The pick of the weekend fixtures will be the Chapungu clash against log leaders FC Platinum at Ascot and the Dynamos/Chicken Inn clash at the National Sports Stadium.
FC Platinum top the table with 69 points, two ahead of Dynamos and go to Ascot, a venue where 2016 champions Caps United were crowned, needing nothing short of victory to secure their first title after seven seasons in the topflight league.
FC Platinum are also on the verge of writing their own piece of history by becoming the first out of Harare or Bulawayo side in the modern PSL to win the title.
Promoted into the Premiership in 2011, the title is now for FC Platinum to lose and should they fail following resources poured into the club over the years, they will have only themselves to blame.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has previously won the title with Monomotapa in 2008.
To realise the dream, the platinum miners need to beat Chapungu to avoid the 2011 scenario when they lost the title to DeMbare on goal difference. Then, Dynamos were crowned champions tied on 58 points with the Zvishavane side, but DeMbare’s goal difference was 27 compared to FC Platinum’s 23.
A draw for FC Platinum would be suicidal in the event that Dynamos beat Chicken Inn. A draw would take their points tally to 70 and a win for Dynamos would also take them to the same number of points, but the Harare giants will win the title because of a superior goal difference.
Dynamos will be praying that Chapungu spoil the party for FC Platinum, while they collect maximum points against Chicken Inn.
What Mapeza will be hoping for is that his seasoned players Charles Sibanda, Mkhokheli Dube, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Kelvin Moyo, Nqobizitha Masuku and Winston Mhango carry the day for him against Chapungu.
What is therefore key is how FC Platinum will absorb pressure against the airmen, who held them to a 0-0 draw in the first round.
It won’t be a walk in the park for FC Platinum as Chapungu have openly declared that they are after a top eight finish. The airmen are in 10th position with 44 points and can sneak into the top eight should they cause a major upset.
Last season Chapungu “handed” Caps United the title on the last day of the season, losing 1-0 at home to the Green Machine.
FC Platinum were banking on Chapungu to do the job for them by stopping Caps United after they beat Tsholotsho FC 3-0. Had Chapungu held Caps United, FC Platinum were going to be crowned champions.
Article Source: The Chronicle