Tino dares FC Platinum

Herentals striker Tino Benza

HE was the hero of the show when Herentals beat FC Platinum four months ago, but Herentals striker Tino Benza reckons their return leg against the same opponents will be their most difficult assignment this season.

The Students clash against the miners at Mandava on Saturday.

They are both in the title mix with FC Platinum trailing leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars by eight points while Herentals are two points further down.

That means whoever loses Saturday’s showdown will be elbowed out of the championship picture.

And Benza whose solitary goal sunk the Zvishavane team in the reverse fixture at the National Sports Stadium is fully aware of that fact.

“To be honest, we are a bit far off the pacesetters but we have a chance to win the league title, at least mathematically.

“About 10 points separate us from the leaders with 11 games still to be played,” said Benza.

“At this juncture, we cannot afford to lose further ground. That makes our match against FC Platinum on Saturday a very crucial tie.

“It’s like deciding whether we will be in the mix or we are out. Only two points separate us from FC Platinum and all that makes our match even tougher”.

The Herentals chief striker said the location of the match on Saturday makes it even more intriguing.

Herentals have adopted Mandava as their home three months ago following the closure of the National Sports Stadium for renovations.

And the Students have performed well on the Mandava turf which for the past five years has been FC Platinum’s fortress.

“Playing at Mandava against a team that has achieved so many things at the same venue is obviously a tough undertaking. But as Herentals, we have built a good reputation there and our fan base is also growing in Zvishavane.

“We are motivated as a club especially with the way we have been playing over the past few weeks.

“We are going out there to try and get the maximum points. We have so much respect for FC Platinum.

“They are the reigning champions and they are well in the running for their fifth consecutive league title.

“That tells you of a serious football club with so much ambition. But we are ready for them, we will be gunning for the maximum points.

Benza is the leading scorer for the Students with six goals under his belt. He has also notched in seven assists with the 22-year-old aiming to win the golden boot whose race is being led by Bulawayo Chiefs’ Obriel Chirinda who is on 10 goals.


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