BULAWAYO – The spotlight will this weekend focus on coaches as the Castle Premiership race ?enters the second half of the season which will clarify a number of unanswered questions thus far.
At least six teams still have a realistic chance to win the title in the upcoming 15 rounds of action while at the bottom of the log, the relegation battle will hot up.
This weekend teams are meeting in reverse fixtures to matches that brought the curtain down on the first half of the season last month.
Former Warriors and Zifa technical director, Gibson Homela told the Daily News the weekend games are an opportunity for top flight coaches to prove their competence.
“In the first game some teams were meeting each other for the first time this season and a coach can be excused for getting his tactics wrong but the second game is a totally different story,” Homela said.
“Some teams will be meeting for the third time within a very short period and as a result one would expect a coach to use the previous encounters as a template for making corrections and avoid falling to the same team.”
Chicken Inn and Shabanie Mine will be meeting for third consecutive time inside three weeks when they clash Friday at Luveve Stadium.
After meeting in Week 15 of the league programme, the two teams also clashed again in the BancABC Sup8r Cup quarterfinal last weekend.
The Gamecocks won the league encounter 2-1 away at Maglas Stadium but the Chinda Boys got their revenge in the cup game with a 2-0 victory at Mandava Stadium.
Focus now is on Chicken Inn’s Mandla Mpofu and his Shabanie Mine counterpart Luke Masomere to see who can outfox the other and prove to be a master tactician.
Chicken Inn have a good chance to assume leadership of the 16-team log if they can prevail over Shabanie as they will go into tomorrow’s encounter tied on 29 points with city rivals Highlanders, who will host CAPS United on Sunday at Barbourfields Stadium.
The above scenario also applies to the clash between Motor Action and Monomotapa who will also be meeting for the third time in quick succession.
Motor Action lost 2-1 in the league before going down 1-0 in the cup game and a third straight defeat to the same team would not bode well for the Mighty Bulls who are rooted in the relegation zone. The Mighty Bulls are coached by Joey Antipas while the youthful Monomotapa is under the guidance of Biggie Zuze.
Bosso’s Kelvin Kaindu is undoubtedly the coach under the most pressure going into the weekend.
Highlanders have lost their last three matches in all competitions after going down 1-0 to How Mine and 2-1 to CAPS in the league.
Last weekend, the log leaders were also dumped out of the Sup8r competition going down 3-1 on penalties to FC Platinum.
The Bulawayo giants have the perfect opportunity to earn their revenge on Makepekepe when the two teams meet at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Other coaches that will be itching to inflict some form of revenge on their counterparts after going down in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago include; How Mine’s Philani Mabhena, Black Mambas’ John Ncube, Harare City’s Bigboy Mawiwi, Buffaloes stand in coach Timothy Masachi and Black Rhinos’ Arthur Tutani.
Friday: Chicken Inn v Shabanie Mine (Luveve)
Saturday: Black Mambas v Triangle (Morris Depot), How Mine v Dynamos (Luveve), Harare City v Hwange (Rufaro)
Sunday: Buffaloes v Tripple B (Sakubva), Black Rhinos v FC Platinum (Rimuka), Motor Action v Monomotapa (Motor Action), Highlanders v CAPS United (Barbourfields)