The Sunday Mail
OLD GEORGIANS will this weekend look to close out the season in style, and finish unbeaten when they square up against Old Miltonians in Bulawayo tomorrow.
The former champions have already secured top spot – courtesy of a six-point lead over rivals Harare Sports Club with a game in hand – and will probably have the lighter fixtures of the play-offs.
OGs currently sit at the summit of the log standings with 43 points, followed by Harare Sports Club and Old Hararians on 37 and 30 points respectively.
Sportivo, as Harare Sports Club are called by their legion of fans, have finished their fixtures and will meet Old Hararians in one of the two semi-final games.
However, OGs will have to wait until tomorrow to know the identity of their opponents, when surprise packages Mutare Sports Club (11) and Matabeleland Warriors (13) clash in a winner-takes-all encounter at Hartsfield.
The two teams currently sit on fourth and fifth place, separated by a paltry two points, and both still have a mathematical chance of sealing the fourth and final slot going into their final fixtures of the regular season.
The unbeaten OGSs have been on a roll, scoring a whopping 419 points and conceding just 147 during the season.
Their coach, Derek Chiwara, who took over from Grant Mitchell midway into the season, has made his intention known: “win at all costs and bring the title back home.
“Grant (Mitchell) set serious high standards, when the team began this journey. We have adopted a professional approach to all the things, and winning has become a mentality.”
The former Sables team manager said it has not been easy to fit into the shoes of the former OGs skipper and Zimbabwe international.
“It is against this background that filling his shoes is no easy task, but a challenge I have embraced. My job now is to take us across the finish line and that means bringing back the title to OGs,” he said.
“We have no intentions of underestimating or taking our opponents lightly and will field the strongest squad possible.
“Our main goal is to finish the season unbeaten,” said Chiwara.
Due to the two-week break from the Victoria Cup action, Chiwara was looking to welcome back his national team players but injuries have wrecked his plans.
The trio of David Makanda (knee), Shingi Katsvere (ankle) and Jerry Jaravaza (ankle) have all been ruled out due to injury, with Chiwara expected to now rotate his side.
“On one hand, I’m indeed happy and excited to have my charges back from Sables duty, their presence in the team environment is extremely important on and off the field,” said Chiwara.
“However, some of them will not be available for various reasons, mostly injury and I am more than happy to give them a rest.
“This is not to say we do not have cover, the team starting will be the best we have on offer, mostly tried and tested players.
“It is also a welcome opportunity for those who are normally fringe players or second team players to raise their hands and show what they are capable of.
“So a few players will get their debuts over the weekend,” he said.
Fixtures: Matabeleland Warriors v Mutare Sports Club (Hartsfield 2pm); Old Miltonians v Old Georgians (Hartsfield 3:30pm).