Kaindu praises Norman Mapeza

HARARE - How Mine coach Kelvin Kaindu has poured lavish praises on Norman Mapeza after the FC Platinum coach led the Zvishavane-based side to their maiden Castle Lager Premiership title at the weekend.

After years of near misses, FC Platinum finally sealed their first championship with a 2-0 victory over Chapungu at Ascot Stadium in the last match of the season that left Dynamos to settle for second position as they finished the season two points behind the champions.

FC Platinum’s triumph meant they became the first team outside Harare and Bulawayo to win the title since independence. Since 1980, only teams from the capital and Bulawayo have been crowned Zimbabwe champions.

During that period, Dynamos have won the title on 16 occasions followed by Highlanders on seven while CAPS United have won it four times.

The other teams to have won the title since 1980 are Black Rhinos (twice), Black Aces, Zimbabwe Saints, Amazulu, Motor Action, Monomotapa, Gunners and Chicken Inn.

The only team in the history of local football to have stopped the hegemony of Harare and Bulawayo is St Paul’s Musami Mission, who defied odds way back in 1966 when they won the then Rhodesia National Football title under Father Anthony Edward Davies.

And Kaindu, who led his team to a top eight finish despite the chronicled financial challenges, applauded Mapeza for a job well done.

“They deserved to be champions; probably they have been the most consistent team in the league since I came. I think they have been in the top four for quite some time and it was high time that they lift the title,” Kaindu said.

“I am happy. Congratulations to my brother Norman Mapeza for winning it. And also credit should go to Dynamos. They have put up a fight I think this season they didn’t have a team everybody thought would contest for the championship.

Norman Mapeza - FC Platinum coach

“But my brother there Lloyd Mutasa has done a very good job and I hope they stabilise and push again next season. I am happy for both teams but congratulations Mapeza for winning it.”

Kaindu also took time to reflect on his season at How Mine which he described as “painful and the most difficult in his coaching career”.

“It was probably one of my most difficult seasons and if there is one thing that I have always said during the course of the season is that I appreciate the effort these players have given,” he said.

“I never thought we would go this far. I don’t even have words to just appreciate these guys for putting so much effort under very difficult circumstances. Even when playing today, you don’t know who you are going to field. It has been difficult, it has not been easy.

“I think we had started our season well but we had our own house problems which I think cost us so much. It was a painful season.

On his future Kaindu said: “I think my employers will issue a statement on whether I stay or not. I think our problems started just during the off season and that’s why I said for us to get this far was unbelievable.”

However, sources close to the coach suggest he could be on his way back to his native country Zambia.