NORMAN MAPEZA BULLISH | FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza strongly believes that they can lift the Castle Lager Premiership soccer title if they maintain their current form that saw them scoring three goals past ZPC Kariba at home on Saturday.
Mapeza’s man had to bank on experience as they found the target through veteran players Charles Sibanda, who scored a brace, and Mkhokheli Dube. For the past two seasons FC Platinum have been struggling to get maximum points against ZPC Kariba who have been a thorn in their flesh since May 7 2015 as they became the first team to beat them at home after they had not tasted defeat for a year.
ZPC Kariba were, however, sent to the cleaners on Saturday by an FC Platinum side that was hungry for success and showed a lot of promise.
It was one match which the home side was disciplined in defence which was well marshalled by Gift Bello, Ian Nekati and the Moyo twins, Kelvin and Elvis.
“We still believe we can do it and we need to continue working very hard. Everybody knows what is at stake and I hope we can (pip) Ngezi Platinum Stars if we keep scoring. We can no longer afford to drop points anymore,” said Mapeza.
On Saturday, FC Platinum found the target as early as the 6th minute and for the first time the platinum miners did not concede a goal this season. They displayed a passing game which left the ZPC Kariba defence in tatters.
Even ZPC Kariba coach Sunday Chidzambwa had no kind words for his men.
“If you put on a football kit and you do not want to play, the best thing for you is to stay at home and not to come to the stadium. I am not disappointed but I am very disappointed,” said the veteran coach after the match on Saturday.
Chidzambwa also spoke on the championship race.
“Norman (Mapeza) has one of the strongest teams in the league and he has been unlucky to win the league title at FC Platinum. I know one day he will win the league title. He just need to keep on working hard and remain focused. FC Platinum is one team with very good players in the Premiership
“FC Platinum must continue working hard and then see what happens at the end of the season.
“(Ngezi Platinum Stars coach) Tonderayi Ndiraya is also a good coach. I was (once) his coach and he has done wonders at Ngezi, winning the Chibuku Super Cup. He has worked very hard and assembled a very good side and he is also a favourite to win the league title. In-fact I am proud of the two young coaches because I worked with them,” said Chidzambwa.
Mapeza is not new to the title as he has walked along this road in 2008 when he won the league title with the now-defunct Monomotapa and he has high hopes to become the second coach in the history of Zimbabwe to bring the league title outside Harare and Bulawayo, a feat that was only achieved by St Paul’s Musami in 1966.
It has been 51 years since that feat was achieved and it has been three seasons with Mapeza failing at the last hurdle since joining FC Platinum but this time all the eyes are on the youthful coach who even had the guts to take a break from his beloved Warriors so that he gives maximum attention to the championship race.
He has already given hope to the people of Zvishavane and a victory over Tsholotsho away in Beitbridge and Ngezi Platinum will do the tricky.
“We need maximum points in all our remaining matches. We are not worried about getting goals although we need the goals if there is an opportunity to get the goals.
“At the moment I will not care about how many goals we have scored. We might need the goals but at the moment the important thing to us are maximum points.
“Last season it was three clubs — FC Platinum, CAPS United and Highlanders — involved in the championship race. We won against Highlanders in Week 29 and then it became a two-horse race between us and CAPS United.
“We have three games to go and it’s like a four-horse race now. It’s tricky but for us the most important thing is to concentrate on our games. We must not get worried with what is happening elsewhere,” said Mapeza.