THE usually unassuming ZPC Kariba coach Saul Chaminuka has for the second time launched a scathing attack on referee Pedzisayi Chadya for booking his star Pride Tafirenyika during their 1-0 win over Triangle last week which has culminated in the players’ suspension ahead of the tough clash against FC Platinum at Mandava Stadium on Saturday.
Tafirenyika, a key cog in Chaminuka’s squad bidding to lift the championship since they were promoted into the elite league, is suspended for the clash against FC Platinum after accumulating three yellow cards against Chiredzi, How Mine and Triangle.
But it is the yellow card given to Tafirenyika at the end of the match against Triangle that continues to worry Chaminuka.
The usually calm ZPC Kariba gaffer was seething with anger yesterday after the PSL released a list of suspended players ahead of the resumption of the league programme. He blamed poor officiating for the situation he finds himself in.
“To be frank, I am not happy with the referee for the yellow card he gave to Pride during the match against Triangle,” he fumed.
“Any sane referee would not have given a yellow card for that. I am just going into the match against FC Platinum unhappy over the yellow card given to Pride. He is our key player and a match winner.”
Tafirenyika who was the outstanding player on the day appeared to go down under challenge from Triangle defenders, but the referee somehow booked him for diving.
Then Chaminuka said: “I’m very excited about the result, but not so much for the match officiating. I don’t know what match officials are thinking. Pride was pulled for over 15 metres by two defenders and then when he finally succumbed, he gets booked.
That yellow card means he is now out for our next game against FC Platinum, but is that right? Maybe it’s because I love my boys too much but it seems the yellow cards are meant for my players only.”
Nonetheless, Chaminuka remained confident ahead of the trip to FC Platinum.
“If we want to talk about the top four, we need to win this one. In the reverse fixture we drew 0-0 at home. We were under pressure, but this time we are away so they will be under pressure. It’s a must win for us if we are to finish in the top four,” Chaminuka said.
ZPC Kariba are in second place with 47 points from 25 matches in the campaign, while Dynamos who face Chapungu on Sunday lead the standings with 49 points. Harare giants Caps United, away to Triangle on Saturday, are in third place with 45 points while Highlanders, who host Chicken Inn at Hartsfield Stadium on Sunday, are in fourth place with 39 points.
Platinum, now under Norman Mapeza, are on the ascendance and are smelling a top-four finish after reaching the final of the Chibuku Super Cup over the weekend. With 38 points and in sixth place — tied with Hwange — a three-point haul this Saturday will take them closer to their target.
Platinum players have warmed up to Mapeza’s style of play and three wins in a row have escalated their confidence.
Should they win this match, they will move to 41 points and give Dynamos the advantage. Dynamos play 24 hours later against Chapungu at Rufaro Stadium as they seek revenge after being humbled 0-1 in the reverser fixture.
Meanwhile, Chiredzi still bottom of the league table, will be confirmed relegated if they lose their away match to eighth-placed How Mine on Friday. Gishon Ntini’s men who are still bottom of the log with a paltry 14 points from 25 matches lost three points to Chapungu following the abandonment of their league match at Ascot after they arrived at the match venue late.
Bantu Rovers, second from bottom with 21 points, hope to overcome fellow relegation candidates Shabanie Mine on Saturday to shore up their chances of survival. They need to win all their remaining five matches to have hope of survival. Black Rhinos, third from the bottom with 27 points, will also brighten their chances of survival with a win over Hwange at Rimuka Stadium.
Triangle in fourth position from the bottom, also with 27 points, hope to overcome Caps United to enhance their chances of avoiding the axe.
Chapungu in 12th place with 29 points make the trip to Harare for a date against log leaders Dynamos. Moses Chunga’s Buffaloes on ninth place with 33 points host Harare City on Sunday knowing a victory will all but guarantee them safety.
Friday: How Mine v Chiredzi (Hartsfield)
Saturday: Bantu Rovers v Shabanie (Hartsfield), Black Rhinos v Hwange (Rimuka 1500hrs SS), FC Platinum v ZPC Kariba (Mandava)
Sunday: Buffaloes v Harare City (Sakubva), Triangle v Caps United (Gibbo), Dynamos v Chapungu (Rufaro 1500hrs, SS), Dynamos v Chapungu (Rufaro), Highlanders v Chicken Inn (Hartsfield)