Mapeza lauds his charges

HARARE - FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza says he is building something special at the Zvishavane-based club but he is not getting carried away by the impressive form that has seen his side emerging as title contenders.

A veteran of tough campaigns both as player and coach, Mapeza has swept away the early season’s demons to take his young side to within touching distance of log leaders Chicken Inn.

FC Platinum trail the Gamecocks by five points with nine games remaining and are yet to meet them in the second half of the season in what could potentially settle the matter between the two sides.

For now, Mapeza is taking it in his stride, insisting it’s too early to talk about the title although he does concede he is building something special.

“ It’s hard to talk about hunting the title when there are still nine games to play. There are also some strong antagonists in the Premiership like leaders Chicken Inn, Dynamos and Triangle,” Mapeza told the Daily News yesterday.

“It won’t be easy, but the important thing is we are building something special at FC Platinum. Whether we achieve our objectives or not, we are building something here and we should be satisfied.”

After a difficult start to the 2015 season, the platinum miners have emerged as strong title contenders having turned around their season with a 12-game unbeaten run which has seen them climb to third place on the log table.

Mapeza’s side has not tasted defeat since their 1-0 loss to Dynamos in May.

At the weekend, the platinum miners condemned highly-fancied Triangle 1-0 in their own backyard and given their current rich vein of form, the Zvishavane based side look set to have a big say in the championship race.

Despite all the championship talk Mapeza, however, is not getting carried away and has chosen to remain modest.

“It’s all very easy with words, but we have to keep our feet firmly on the ground.

“Without any false modesty, it will be very difficult for us to fight for the title, as it takes a lot out of the players and their coach,” Mapeza said.

  “There is so much more football to be played and our focus is to stay focused and look to our next fixture. Our next game is against Dynamos and we won’t look any further than that.

“Football offers so many examples where this (predicting title ambitions) has been done and it ended badly.”

FC Platinum’s storming performances make a mockery of their slow start to the season where the side occupied relegation slots.

In between their disastrous start, FC Platinum had been knocked out of the Caf Confederations Cup first round with a humiliating 5-2 aggregate at the hands of Tanzanian giants Young Africans.

They also lost key players in the middle of the season.

Striker Donald Ngoma and skipper Thabani Kamusoko signed for Tanzanian side Yanga, while promising starlets —Wisdom Mutasa and Walter Musona — were signed by Slovakian side FK Senica.

The fine run is down to the work ethic and philosophy of the former Warriors star whose approach to the game makes him a highly-respected professional.

Mapeza’s next task, after this week’s international break, would be to beat Dynamos at Mandava Stadium.

There is strong history between the two sides.

Dynamos pipped FC Platinum to the title in the platinum miners’ maiden year in the topflight league on goal difference.

This was after the then-Rahman Gumbo-coached side choked in their penultimate tie against Dynamos at Mandava where victory would have resulted in the miners winning the title.

Instead, a Daniel Vheremu own goal and wasted chances by Benjamin Marere and Donald Ngoma meant FC Platinum had to pray for Dynamos to slip up against Kiglon while they had to score heavily against Shooting Stars.

In the end Dynamos won the title after a nervy tie against Kiglon who were relegated while FC Platinum failed to plunder more goals against Shooting Stars whom they beat 3-1 at Gwanzura Stadium.

“We will only take each game at a time. I hope we will maintain consistency against Dynamos. Everyone knows what Dynamos is capable of so we will need to work hard like what we have been doing,” Mapeza said.

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