It's under control: Mapeza

HARARE - After a blistering start to the season, FC Platinum have come unstuck during a frustrating month of July in which they have failed to pick up a win in three straight Castle Lager Premiership matches.

This is the first time the defending champions have failed to pick up a win in three consecutive matches this season which is now threatening to derail their title defence.

Since the resumption of the second half of the season, the Zvishavane-based platinum miners started with a 1-2 home defeat to ZPC Kariba at Mandava Stadium which was followed by a disappointing 1-1 draw against Yadah FC at the National Sports Stadium a week ago.

Pure Platinum Play were also not at their best last weekend when they were held to a goalless draw at Mandava by CAPS United.

In fact, Norman Mapeza’s side were lucky to walk away with even a point after the match officials disallowed a John Zhuwawu goal for offside in controversial circumstances.

Until the recent loss of form, FC Platinum had looked on course to defend their title without any difficulties after their main title rivals Ngezi Platinum Stars had endured a tough period of going four matches without a victory.

However, Ngezi have taken full advantage of Pure Platinum Play’s slip-ups by picking up two consecutive wins over Triangle United and Dynamos.

With 14 matches to go before the season comes to an end, the two platinum teams are now just separated by two points with FC Platinum on 46 while Ngezi Platinum are on 44.

Although he is concerned by his team’s lack of form in recent outings, Mapeza remains confident that they can successfully defend their title.

“We are not going to panic. We need calm heads at this stage. It’s just a phase and it’s very normal in football,” Mapeza told the Daily News.

“I know we will be able to dig ourselves out of this. Of course you get worried when the results are not coming but we are not panicking at all.

“It is a matter of time. We will have to take it one game at a time. Besides we are at the top of the table. We are just not being clinical enough in front of goal and we need to work hard to ensure we finish off opponents.”

Mapeza is also grateful for the coming break after the Premier Soccer League (PSL) postponed this weekend’s fixtures because of the upcoming national harmonised elections set for Monday.

The reigning Coach of the Year says he will use the break to work on some of his team’s shortcomings.

Pure Platinum Play will resume their campaign with a visit to Barbourfields Stadium to face a struggling Bulawayo City.

“I can’t really say the break is really welcome but that is what is there and we will use it to work on some of our weaknesses,” Mapeza said.

“We are not going to rest just because there are no league matches this weekend. We will keep on working on improving our side so that we will come back strong when we travel to Bulawayo.