The Sunday News
Fungai Muderere, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS and FC Platinum clash for the 20th time since 2011 at a time when the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title race has reached fever pitch.
Theirs is a top-drawer Week 29 fixture highlight of the weekend’s action, a result that could delay the Norman Mapeza coached side’s coronation. Bosso and Pure Platinum Play were on 23 April involved in a puffing first leg encounter that ended prematurely.
The encounter was abandoned after Bosso fans invaded the pitch in protest over a penalty awarded to the hosts at Mandava Stadium. The two sides were level at 1-1 when referee Kuzivakwamwari Jaravaza awarded the hosts a penalty with a few minutes left after Peter Muduwa was adjudged to have fouled Walter Musona in the box.
However, video replays showed that Muduwa had made contact with his opponent outside the penalty box with the FC Platinum player losing his footing when he got into the box.
The controversial decision angered Highlanders players, who protested the decision and their fans responded by invading the pitch targeting Jaravaza and one of the assistants Albinos Zigwati.
Crowd trouble led to the abandonment of the match as police officers ended up using tear gas in a bid to disperse the marauding throng. The Platinum miners were then handed the match on a 3-0 score line via the boardroom.
Fast forward to today’s encounter, the two differing but equally attacking styles of Highlanders coach Baltemar Brito and Mapeza always make for an entertaining spectacle, and if the players have anything left in the tank after their 28 games of full action, there will be more of the same in this epic tie, Bosso’s 10th league match at home against the Zvishavane side since 2011.
From the 19 PSL meetings that the two clubs have had for the past 11 years, Pure Platinum Play have seven wins, four at home and three away.
On the other hand, Amahlolanyama have won five times, three at home and two away with the rest of the encounters ending as stalemates. That is four at Mandava Stadium and three at Emagumeni.
The calculator therefore suggests that Mapeza’s men have managed to collect a total of 28 points from Bosso while the latter has so far amassed 22 from the former.
Bosso have conceded 22 league goals against FC Platinum, 13 at home and nine away. The Bulawayo football giants have managed to get the back of the net against the platinum miners 16 times, nine at Barbourfields and seven in Zvishavane.
Interestingly, going into this afternoon’s much awaited Royal Rumble match that can also be codenamed Armageddon @BF, from their past five league games both sides managed to collect 11 points after getting three wins and two draws.
Bosso Form Guide
D W W W D
FC Platinum Form Guide
D D W W W
Two gaffers have two quality squads at their disposal, and could well rotate a few players in order to maintain that intensity.
With FC Platinum already having their utility player Gift Mbweti on suspension, Mapeza will be very much compelled to make some changes in his defence line that will have William Stima, Gift Bello and Lawrence Mhlanga to play a prominent role in that backline.
Brito will give his leading top goal scorer Lynoth Chikuhwa a starting place. Chikuhwa, the Highlanders leading goal scorer with 10 strikes came off the bench when Bosso were held to a 1-1 draw by Cranborne Bullets.
Also, likely to be thrown into the fray by Brito is pint sized Ray Lunga, an influential player with a small frame but a big heart that has always arguably put in 100 percent effort every time he has featured for the black and white army.
With Brito predicting a mouth-watering encounter, Mapeza and his men angling for a fourth championship on the trot, the end story from Emagumeni is really worth waiting for.
As the newspaper headlines have suggested, it’s heavily tipped to be an exhibition of local football at the top level and we at Sunday News Sport we say Come on Bosso, Lets Go FC Platinum!
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