Mapeza on cloud nine

HARARE - FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza was an elated man after being named Coach of the Year to cap a fine season in which the platinum miners won their maiden championship.

“I think for me as an individual it’s a massive achievement. I am more than happy because we also managed to have a Soccer Star of the Year and the first runner-up from the team. It shows the amount of effort that we have been putting the whole season,” Mapeza said.

“I am really happy. This is one award that keeps you motivated; it shows I am moving in the right direction and I just need to keep working hard. Football is an evolving sport and it’s important for me to keep on reading and move with times.”

Following years of near misses, Mapeza finally led FC Platinum to their maiden championship in an intriguing race which involved Dynamos who had to settle for second-place.

Mapeza etched his name in the books of history as FC Platinum’s triumph meant they became the first team outside Harare and Bulawayo to win the title since independence. Only teams from the capital and Bulawayo have been crowned Zimbabwe champions since 1980.

And during that period, the Glamour Boys 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.

Mapeza wants his team to maintain the same standards going forward.

“I think this will also challenge us to maintain the standards that we have set for ourselves. I think those that will come to our club the message will be the same to work hard. And if you want to excel in this field you need to be disciplined as well as dedicated,” said Mapeza.

Mapeza also lauded some of his coaching colleagues whom he feels also did well this season.

“Lloyd Mutasa did well, Tonderai Ndiraya did well. I also thought even Takesure Chiragwi did well and for him to save Shabanie Mine from relegation with the resources they had for me I think it was a success story,” said Mapeza.

“It’s unfortunate we don’t know how the voting system works in the country but if it was in England, Chiragwi could have won this award. But all the same I am really happy.”