CENTRAL Region Premiership sides FC Platinum and returnees Shabanie Mine will have a chance to assess their players as well as preparations ahead of the season, when the two sides meet in the CG Msipa Tournament at Maglas Stadium in Zvishavane on Saturday.
BY MUKUDZEI CHINGWERE
The tournament, which would be the first instalment of the fiery Zvishavane derby, is in honour of the late national hero Cephas Msipa, who died last year.
FC Platinum has inherited hosting the charity tournament, said they chose their fiercest city rival, as they always give them a tough fight every time they meet.
“We will play Shabanie Mine and the intention of this match is for the technical department to assess their team before the start of the domestic season. We chose Shabanie Mine because of the rivalry that has always existed between us and the fixture promises to be a very good game of football,” FC Platinum media liaison officer, Chido Chizondo said.
Besides bragging rights that always go with this encounter winners are set to walk away with $6 000, while the losers get $4 000.
A $5 000 cheque have been set aside, and will go towards Msipa’s Scholarship Trust, for underprivileged students from the local community.
This is the first time that the two sides would be meeting since 2014, when Shabanie Mine was relegated before their promotion back to the Premiership this year.
Shabanie Mine head coach Taku Shariwa said: “We will use this game to assess our team and see how far we have gone in terms of preparations.
“Of course, we are playing to win, but I will not put my players under unnecessary pressure as yet. Remember this is my second week with the team so we are still work in progress.”
FC Platinum, who have made it public that they are gunning for the Premiership this year, having agonisingly came close last year, have started their preparations early, which saw them travelling to South Africa for a pre-season training camp last month.
The Norman Mapeza-coached side played against South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, which finished in a 1-all draw.
Next week, they face Highlanders in the quarter-finals of the ZNA Charities Shield in Bulawayo.
The match was initially supposed to be played last week, but was deferred due to a waterlogged Barbourfields Stadium.
FC Platinum have also shown their determination to wrest the league title to Zvishavane this year by going into the transfer market and snapped some of the bright talents in the highly-rated Bret Amidu, Talent Chawapiwa, Gift Mbweti and Agrippa Murimba.
Warriors defender Lawrence Mhlanga could be following the quartet to Mandava soon.