FC Platinum tipped for glory

HARARE - FC Platinum have their destiny in their own hands after shooting to the top of the Castle Lager Premiership log table with only five games to go before the end of the season.

Norman Mapeza’s side assumed leadership of the title race when they beat Zvishavane rivals Shabanie Mine 2-0 at Mandava Stadium on Wednesday to go on 59 points.

Former log leaders Dynamos could only draw 1-1 with lowly Tsholotsho at home on the same day to drop down to second place with 58 points.

Ngezi Platinum Stars wasted a good opportunity to go top when they were also held to a 1-1 draw by Chapungu at Ascot Stadium.

Madamburo dropped down to third place with 57 points following the result.

Football coach and analyst Bheki Nyoni feels that FC Platinum can become the first team outside Harare or Bulawayo to win the title.    

“The league title race is still not yet over but FC Platinum have shown their quality because of the experience Mapeza and his squad have,” Nyoni, who is the president of the Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches Association told the Daily News.

“The club’s executive must also be commended because they have been patient with Mapeza. They have not won the league yet but this should be a sign to all people that results can only come after hard work and patience.

“Mapeza did not win the league in the last two years but the club renewed his contract and because of that stability everything is now in their hands this season. They just need to be more composed in those remaining five matches.”

Turning to Ngezi Platinum’s chances, Nyoni said: “I feel they have done very well considering that this is only their second season in the league; they have done their best. They are in with a chance and anything can happen between now and the end of the season.”

As for Dynamos, Nyoni feels Lloyd Mutasa and his side have over-achieved and even a top four-finish would be a success.

“If you look at the way they assembled the squad, no one gave Dynamos a chance at the start of the season,” he said.

“Most people thought they will be relegation candidates but the technical team and the players have done very well. Looking at them on paper; Mutasa has an average side and no one expected them to be competing for the title at this stage.

“Even if they don’t win the title, I feel Mutasa and his players have done well and must be commended for that.”

Former Motor Action goalkeeper Marlon Jani believes mental strength will be vital in these remaining five matches for the title-chasing teams and also feels it’s for FC Platinum to lose.

“This is now crunch time when boys will be separated from men,” Jani, who won the title with the now defunct Mighty Bulls in 2010, told the Daily News. 

“At the moment, FC Platinum have the best chance to win the title because they just need to keep the momentum they have and win all their matches.

“If they do that they will be crowned champions without having to worry about how the other teams perform.

“As for Dynamos; I think they are lacking maturity. Mutasa has assembled a good side but the only problem is that some of his key players have negative attitudes towards the game.

“Just look at what Denver Mukamba was doing in previous weeks; it destabilises the team. Otherwise they still have a chance to win the league if Mutasa can work on that area.”

Turning to Ngezi Platinum’s chances for the title, the Mbare-born ex-goalkeeper feels Ndiraya’s side needs to work on their form against the lower ranked teams.

“We should not rule out Ngezi because they have proved they have the character by staying in the race for this long,” Jani said.

“What they need to do is to improve their game against the so-called small teams. They should approach each game like a cup final then they will be home and dry.”

While the general consensus might be that FC Platinum are the firm title favourites, Mapeza’s side also has a history of being nearly men.

In their very first spell in the Premiership, Pure Platinum Play lost the title only on the penultimate game of the 2011 season when they went down to Dynamos.

Prior to that, the Zvishavane side had been top of the log for a considerable time but finished the season empty handed.

In Mapeza’s first season in 2014, FC Platinum finished in fourth place on the log some six points behind champions Dynamos having joined the side midway through the season.

In 2015, Mapeza led the platinum miners to a third place finish again six points behind champions Chicken Inn.

Last season was particularly disappointing for the club as they led the log for a considerable time before eventually finishing in second place, two points behind eventual champions CAPS United.

Remaining Fixtures

FC Platinum: Harare City (a), ZPC Kariba (h), Tsholotsho (a), Ngezi Platinum (h), Chapungu (a)

Dynamos: Ngezi Platinum (a), Chapungu (h), Bulawayo City (a), Bantu Rovers (a), Chicken Inn (h)

Ngezi Platinum Stars: Dynamos (h), Bantu Rovers (a), Chicken Inn (h), FC Platinum (a), Triangle (h)

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.