Pure Platinum Play

HARARE - After missing out on the Castle Lager Premiership title to eventual winners Chicken Inn last season, FC Platinum are making their intentions clear in this year’s title race.

Norman Mapeza’s men fought an intriguing battle last year for the championship before settling for third position behind the Gamecocks and second-placed Dynamos.

While it is still too early to talk of the championship, FC Platinum seem eager to avoid last year’s disappointment and at the weekend they put up a spirited performance that saw them overcome a stubborn Chapungu side 1-0 to go top of the table.

The platinum miners remain the only team that has a 100 percent record after three matches.

In their first match of the season, FC Platinum beat Tsholotsho 2-1 before dispatching Bulawayo giants Highlanders by the same score line away at Barbourfields Stadium.

The platinum miners seem to be reaping the rewards of continuity after retaining most of their players from last year’s campaign while adding a few new faces.

And with their coach Mapeza on the touchline, FC Platinum appear a solid unit and well-balanced in all departments.

Platinum, have in their ranks seasoned players like goalkeeper Petros Mhari, defender Gift Bello, and youthful players like Walter Musona, Tatenda Dzumbunu, and Brian Muzondiwa  who have gelled to Mapeza’s philosophy and have turned into a solid unit on which their championship dreams can certainly be built.

New-signing Nqobizitha Masuku, who joined from Highlanders at the start of the season, seems to be providing that grit in midfield and has quickly settled at the Zvishavane side.

On the other hand, their rivals Dynamos, who started the season on a slow note picked up their first full set of maximum points at the weekend when they overcame lowly Mutare City Rovers.

The poor run saw DeMbare coach Paulo Jorge Silva, who was tasked to win back the title they lost to Chicken Inn last season, and his technical team being given an ultimatum after failing to meet their contractual demands.

But after the weekend’s result Silva believes their win against Mutare City at the weekend could be the spark they needed to turnaround their fortunes after a rather slow start to the current Castle Premiership season.

The Portuguese gaffer feels the Glamour Boys need to make a bold statement when they square off against their bitter rivals CAPS United at the weekend.

“We are going to play to win... I’m not under any pressure except the pressure that comes with coaching a big team like Dynamos,” Silva said after the Rovers match.

“This is a big club and the fans have big expectations... I’m giving 100 percent and I expect everyone to also give 100 percent.”

Meanwhile, things are looking good for CAPS United who beat Harare City 2-1 at the weekend.

The Green Machine are moving with a spring in their step and they are unbeaten in their opening three matches.

Bulawayo giants Highlanders, under the tutelage of Dutch coach Erol Akbay, bounced back from a morale-sapping defeat at home to Mapeza’s FC Platinum on match day two and recorded their second win of the season with a 2-1 win away to Tsholotsho.

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