Mapeza remains focused

HARARE - For the first time this season, FC Platinum have failed to pick up maximum points in two straight Castle Lager Premiership matches, something that has left the race for the title wide open.

Until their 1-2 defeat to ZPC Kariba at Mandava Stadium a fortnight ago and last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Yadah FC at the National Sports Stadium, the defending champions looked unstoppable with convincing performances that gave little doubt of their pedigree to retain the title.

Norman Mapeza’s men had only lost once in 17 matches while picking up two draws which saw them go into the mid-season break six points clear at the top of the table with 44 points.

But since the resumption of the league two weeks ago, FC Platinum’s lead at the top has since been reduced to four after second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars finally remembered how to win when they dispatched Triangle United 3-1 at Baobab Stadium on Saturday.

Before that victory against Triangle, Ngezi had lost four straight matches which saw Tonderai Ndiraya’s team being overtaken by FC Platinum at the top of the log table.

While Mapeza knows poor phases are part of the game, he does not want his players to lose focus.

“It’s all part of football. We need to stay focused and keep working hard. We are all working to achieve our objectives but sometimes things don’t go the way you want,” Mapeza told the Daily News.

“We need to accept what we have achieved in the past two matches. In football you get a win, a draw and a defeat but the most important thing is not to lose focus. So for us, I hope we will be able to rectify our mistakes in the next games.”

FC Platinum’s next match is a tough tie against CAPS United at Mandava Stadium on Saturday and Mapeza wants his charges to show their character by picking up maximum points and consolidate their place at the top of the table.

“It’s not an easy match against CAPS United and we need to be at our best if we are to come up with maximum points,” he said.

“We are expecting quite a massive game. CAPS United always make it difficult for us. But we need to fight hard. We can’t afford to keep on dropping points. It’s important we give a polished performance on Saturday.”

Makepekepe go into this weekend’s tie on the back of two goalless draws against Harare City and Bulawayo Chiefs.

Although they have not found the back of the net since the resumption of the league, Lloyd Chitembwe’s side to their credit have been solid at the back.

FIXTURES

Saturday: Harare City v Chapungu (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v Bulawayo City (Luveve), FC Platinum v CAPS United (Mandava), Black Rhinos v Yadah (National Sports), Nichrut v Shabanie Mine (Ascot)

Sunday: Dynamos v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Rufaro), Herentals v ZPC Kariba (National Sports), Triangle United v Highlanders (Gibbo), Mutare City Rovers v Chicken Inn (Vengere)

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