Part III: Chicken Inn vs Shabanie

CHICKEN INN, piling pressure on log leaders Highlanders have yet another tricky encounter on Friday, when they entertain Shabanie Mine for the third time under two weeks in a league match at Luveve Stadium in Bulawayo.

FORTUNE MBELE

And by end of Friday, they could be the new leaders as long as they avoid defeat. They have 29 points — the same as leaders Highlanders.

Last Friday, the former asbestos miners bundled Chicken Inn out of the BancABC Sup8r Cup in a 2-0 exciting quarter-final encounter at Mandava Stadium.

That win was only five days after Chicken Inn had beaten Shabanie Mine 1-2 in a league match at Maglas Stadium. The two sides will test each other’s strengths once more this Friday in the reverse leg of the Castle Lager Premiership match.

Tarisai Rukanda and Pervington Zimunya (from a spot-kick) were on target to dump the GameCox out of the returning Sup8r Cup.

But it was Caleb Masocha and Valentine Ndaba who displayed an exhilarating performance to outclass Chicken Inn and the fast-foods outlet head coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu has a lot of homework to do before Friday’s game.

Leading scorer Tendai Ndoro was tightly monitored by Blessed Mbavarira and with Ndaba having a field day in the centre, and Masocha wreaking havoc upfront, Chicken Inn lost all ground and concentration in the match.

Shabanie coach Luke Masomere had learned a lot from the first game at Maglas.

“We played second fiddle to Shabanie. It is a good result for us because we were becoming big-headed. Now we have to concentrate as we focus on the league,” Mpofu said after the Sup8r loss.

His counterpart, Masomere was over the moon.

“I think our game plan worked. Chicken Inn is not an ordinary team. We dominated the game and I am satisfied with the team spirit,” Masomere said.

Competition has become stiff. The top of the log standings has Chicken Inn on the second spot at par with Highlanders on 29 points, after winning nine matches in the first half.

A win against Shabanie on Friday will see them go to the top with 32 points and will await weekend game results where Bosso will be hosting Caps United at Barbourfields on Sunday while third-placed champions Dynamos on 28 points, will also be in Bulawayo on Saturday for a date with How Mine at Luveve.

Shabanie Mine need nothing short of a win as they have to steer away from the relegation zone, sitting on position 12 with 17 points, four ahead of basement side Black Rhinos.

Results of the weekend games could see some changes, with Bosso itching for revenge against Caps United who beat them 2-1 in Harare two weeks ago while it might not be an easy walk in the park for DeMbare at Luveve on Saturday after they thumped How Mine 3-0 in Harare two weeks ago.

Bosso have gone on a three-match losing streak after falling 1-0 to Chicken Inn at BF, 2-1 to Caps in Harare before last Saturday’s 3-1 penalty shoot-out exit in the BancABC Sup8r Cup to FC Platinum.

How Mine, who came into the league with a bang, have four straight losses, 3-0 to Dynamos, 2-0 to Shabanie, 0-1 to Chicken Inn and 1-0 to Black Mambas, conceding seven goals. They scored two goals when they beat Buffaloes 2-0 at Luveve on May 12.

Harare City with 28 points, will also be seeking to avenge the 4-1 defeat at the Colliery when they host Hwange on Sunday at Rufaro.

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