Can Platinum exorcise Mandava ghost?

HARARE - The events of November 13, 2011, at Mandava Stadium, will forever be remembered in the history of FC Platinum and Dynamos.

Platinum went into that encounter top of the Castle Premiership table with 55 points, three ahead of second-placed DeMbare, with only two games to go before the seasons ends.

It was the platinum miners’ first season in the top-flight and after slashing a fortune on the transfer market, they had ruffled feathers with all the established clubs in the division.

The two teams went for it pound for pound, but it was DeMbare who emerged victorious courtesy of an own goal by Platinum defender Daniel Vheremu midway through the second half.

Platinum had choked at a crucial moment, as a win would have left them well on the verge of the league title in their maiden season in the Premiership. 

A week later, DeMbare went on to win the league ahead of Platinum on goal difference after the two teams finished tied on 58 points.

Former Platinum goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube, who was in goals during that match, feels the club never became the same after events of that fateful afternoon.

“It was the championship decider and after we lost that game there was nothing to play for in the remaining game because Dynamos had already won the championship. There was no way they were going to lose to Kiglon,” Dube, who is now the CAPS United number one, told the Daily News yesterday.

“A lot of guys were heartbroken by that defeat and from there on everything changed at the club. A lot of new players came in the following season and even the coaches changed.”

The following season, Platinum were pale shadow of the hurricane that swept past the local Premiership in their first season as they ended seventh place, some 26 points behind champions Dynamos.

Last season, a late surge lead by the arrival of Lloyd Mutasa ensured that the Zvishavane-based side finished the season in fourth place but they were still four points behind champions Dynamos.

Exactly three years after that fateful day, Platinum have a chance to redeem themselves and exorcise that Mandava ghost.

Dube believes his former side has the momentum going into tomorrow’s Chibuku Super Cup final against Harare City and if they apply themselves, can emerge with the trophy.

“It’s obvious they have the home advantage and playing at Mandava will give them a huge lift because the fans will be behind them,” said Dube.

“The club has turned Mandava into a perfect hunting ground and the results they have achieved in recent weeks show they will be the favourites to win this game. It’s just up to the players to turn up and put in a good performance in the final.”

Current Platinum fullback Raphael Muduviwa, who was still playing with the club’s development side in the lower division during that time, admitted that there is a form of uneasiness with the senior players in the squad when they talk about that game in 2011.

“The senior players like Donald (Ngoma) and Thabani (Kamusoko), who were with the club then, always express regret when they talk about that game,” Muduviwa told the Daily News.

“They always say it was the best opportunity they have ever had of winning the championship but they could not utilise it.”

The former Young Warriors fullback is, however, confident this new Platinum squad, now under the stewardship of former Zimbabwe captain Norman Mapeza, will be partying after the final tomorrow.

“I’m very confident that we are going to win the final on Sunday, I have no doubts about that,” he said.

“We have been playing well in the league of late and if we can reproduce that same form in the final there will be no chance for Harare City to stop us.”

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