PREMIERSHIP pacesetters CAPS United have to successfully plot a route past a double-barrelled Platinum hurdle for the season’s final two games in their quest to wrestle the championship back to the capital city.
With this year’s Chibuku Super Cup finalists Ngezi Platinum Stars and defending champions FC Platinum standing in their way to a podium finish, the Harare giants are poised for a fascinating finish to the campaign and have to bring their A-game in order to dribble past these tricky opponents.
Makepekepe (58) lead the league proceedings and enjoy a two-point cushion over their nearest rivals and second-placed fellow title chasers Pure Platinum Play (56), whom they host in the last match.
But Madamburo are up first, the team that handed the Green Machine one of their eight losses thus far this season in a 1-2 defeat in the reverse fixture at National Sports. Ngezi are angling for a robust conclusion to the campaign and would want to finish as high up the table as they possibly can while the duel against FC Platinum may as well play title decider.
Yet the former Cup Kings’ Mutare-raised forward Phenias Bamusi is unfazed by the potential peril the pair poses as it lurks for the kill.
“These last two games are very important and we are treating them as cup finals because we know that we are only 180 minutes away from league glory. We have come a long way as a team and cannot afford to spoil the splendid work we have put into our season at this crucial stage. As such, the group is geared for the challenge and raring to go to complete the task at hand. We are aware of what victory in those matches means and are going all out for it.
“The positive feeling is that with the right attitude and mentality we can make it because we are almost there. This has been a very tight race but it is ours to lose now as we stay in the lead. We remain in the hunt and have to ensure that we win our own games so that we do not worry much about other results elsewhere,” defiantly declared the Dangamvura-bred star.
Having strangely dropped vital points against such minnows as Yadah Stars, Herentals and TelOne in their recent matches, the 2016 title winners’ championship credentials have come under serious scrutiny as fears abounded that they would relinquish top spot during the home stretch as they were seemingly unable to exploit FC Platinum and Chicken Inn’s inconsistencies in the corresponding fixtures. Draws against the Miracle Boys and the Students hot on the heels of defeat against the WiFi Boys had complicated issues and made life difficult for the table-toppers.
But coach Darlington Dodo and his charges responded in a compelling manner to crush any qualms about their gritty quality when they overcame arch-rivals Dynamos 1-0 in the Harare Derby on Sunday, a result Bamusi hopes has emboldened their belief. He highlighted that they will not get carried away by the triumph, however, adding that his team will not let up especially with destiny now firmly in their own hands.
“Beating Dynamos was a very sweet victory for the entire CAPS United family. A lot is always at stake when we play them and it was good we collected maximum points because, while we maintained our lead, it will also serve as a huge booster to motivate us for our upcoming games.
“Obviously we may feel under a little bit of pressure going into the next matches, but I believe in the quality of the players we have here that we will be able to manage it all with the correct approach and perfect application. It will not be easy against Ngezi Platinum Stars and FC Platinum because they are good sides, but we have what it takes to do this,” said the speedster, a hot favourite for the top gong after making this season’s Soccer Star of the Year finalists cast.
Such is the buoyancy Bamusi is brimming with that he is relishing the challenge of assisting his teammates to drag themselves over the finishing line in the remainder of the season as they are set to do it the hard way.
If CAPS United clinch the championship in what is turning out to be a bruising finale, then they certainly would have saved the best for the last.