BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
THE two teams have already met twice in the Group stages of the Chibuku Super Cup tournament, at Mandava Stadium and they both have won a game each with an identical 2-1 scorelines.
First it was Ngezi Platinum back in June producing a late show coming from behind to beat their Zvishavane rivals courtesy of a brace by Bruno Mtigo.
On October 17, FC Platinum got their revenge when a late goal by Rainsome Pavari won the game for the Norman Mapeza coached side.
And this afternoon, the platinum miners are set to continue their rivalry when they clash in the final of the biggest knockout competition in the country, the Chibuku Super Cup.
The difference with today’s match is that the winners will pocket US$75 000 in prize money, to be paid in local currency at the prevailing official rate on the day and also get the ticket to represent the country in the next edition of the CAF Confederation Cup.
On the other hand the losing team will be entitled to a US$50 000 for their trouble.
“Let me say we are excited to play in the final. As a club that is enough motivation for the players, for the team and the biggest stakeholders the fans of the team,” Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Rodwell Dhlakama said ahead of the final.
“We played last time and lost. That is water under the bridge we are now playing another final which shows consistency on our part as a team.
“We have a good record in this competition. The team won the cup in 2016 and played on the African Safari which is also an advantage in terms of exposure but that is a story for another day. Now we are focused. We want to go there and enjoy and bring positive results, which is the Cup,” he added.
Today’s match provides yet another opportunity for revenge for Mapeza and his charges after they lost in the 2016 final to Ngezi Platinum.
Both teams will be looking to win a second Chibuku Cup trophy and FC Platinum their first since they won in the inaugural competition in 2014 while Ngezi Platinum lost the previous final against Highlanders back in 2019.
Thus the stage is delicately poised for a bruising encounter. However, Dhlakama feels the odds are heavily stacked against his team considering that Ngezi Platinum has had to travel a lot for matches last month.
This is beside the fact that FC Platinum will be playing in their home ground.
“Naturally that is a big challenge from a scientific perspective. You can’t play three or four consecutive competitive away games, that will take a toll as far as the energy of the players is concerned,” he said.
Ngezi travelled to Bulawayo twice and also played the Chibuku Cup semifinal in Harare in the past three weeks.
For Mapeza this is his third Chibuku Cup final with FC Platinum winning the competition in 2014 and losing against today’s opponents in 2016.
And he would be looking for his second win this afternoon.
“I think on my part it’s a massive achievement. My wish is to go out there on Sunday and win the cup. Since the tournament started in 2014, this is my third cup final appearance with FC Platinum as a club and we are more than happy,” Mapeza said.