The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
NORMAN Mapeza has his eyes firmly set on winning his second Chibuku Super Cup when he leads FC Platinum in this afternoon’s final against Ngezi Platinum Stars at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.
Mapeza was the FC Platinum coach when they won the inaugural Chibuku Super Cup 3-1 on penalties over Harare City at Mandava Stadium in 2014. The two teams had been deadlocked 1-1 after 90 minutes.
A chance to win their second Chibuku Super Cup presented itself to FC Platinum in 2016 when they squared off against Ngezi Platinum at Baobab Stadium but a fired up Madamburo used home advantage to win the country’s most rewarding club competition in emphatic style as they thrashed Pure Platinum Play 3-1 in their maiden season at the top.
With the match taking place at Mandava Stadium where FC Platinum will enjoy support from the bulk of the spectators, Mapeza’s men certainly have the advantage just like Ngezi had in 2016 in front of a partisan crowd.
Both teams have not had it easy on their way to the final. In the quarter-finals, Ngezi Platinum took care of Chicken Inn 2-1 at Baobab before FC Platinum overpowered 2019 champions Highlanders 1-0.
Ngezi went on to beat an impressive Cranborne Bullets 1-0 at a waterlogged National Sports Stadium with FC Platinum also 1-0 victorious over Dynamos at the same venue.
This promises to be a thriller seeing that the two teams have already met twice in the group stage of this competition. Ngezi Platinum beat FC Platinum 2-1 in the first meeting only to lose by a similar margin when the action resumed.
It is a clash between the best assembled teams on the country’s domestic scene and it is a final that is difficult to call. FC Platinum have lots of experience in Petros Mhari, Silas Songani, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Kelvin Madzongwe and Rahman Kutsanzira to carry them through.
Ngezi will be banking on the exploits of Denver Mukamba who has revived his career under Rodwell Dhlakama. Nyasha Chintuli has already scored the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s first hat-trick of the season and should he combine well with the likes of Nigel Makumbe, Anelka Chivandire, Valentine Kadonzvo, Devon Chafa, Bruno Mtigo and Marvelous Mukumba, then FC Platinum are in for a tough time.
Nelson Chadya, the Ngezi Platinum goalkeeper should have good defensive cover from Qadr Amini, Polite Moyo, Keith Murera and Kudzai Chigwida.
Both teams warmed up for the final with tough opposition in their respective league fixtures last weekend. FC Platinum beat Chicken Inn 2-1 at Mandava while Ngezi Platinum played out a 0-0 draw with Highlanders at Barbourfields.
Winners of today’s final, which kicks off at 2pm will pocket US$75 000 while the losers have US$50 000 waiting for them. —@Mdawini_29