FC Platinum brace for Byo City

HARARE - Having failed to register a win in their last three matches, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza wants his charges to get back on track when they face struggling Bulawayo City this afternoon at Barbourfields Stadium.

Since the resumption of the league after the mid season break, the reigning champions are yet to pick up a win after managing two draws and a defeat.

The poor run has seen Pure Platinum Play’s lead at the top of the table being cut to just two points by second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars.

FC Platinum had looked on course to defend their title without any difficulties after their main title rivals Ngezi Platinum suffered four consecutive defeats.

However, their recent loss of form has left the race for the championship wide open. And following a two-week break to pave way for the national elections, Mapeza is confident they have rectified some of his team’s shortcomings and expect a response starting this afternoon.

“We are looking forward to our match against Bulawayo City but like I always say; there are no easy games in the Premiership and there is need for us to go there and stay focused,” Mapeza told the Daily News.

“We are coming from a poor run and it’s important that we start picking maximum points. We cannot afford to keep on dropping points if we are to defend our title.

“We spoke about it as a team and I’m glad players are aware what’s expected from them. So we are looking forward to start winning games going forward.”

Mapeza said they also used the break to work on some of his team’s weaknesses.

“We never really rested actually. We have been working hard to try and improve our side. I hope we will be able to come back stronger. The boys are looking in great shape and we are ready to go,” Mapeza said.

Meanwhile, Bulawayo City are also desperate to start picking up maximum points if they entertain any hopes of surviving the chop at the end of the season.

City, who are in their second season in the top flight, sit in a precarious 16th place on the log table with 15 points from 20 matches.

Amakhosi caretaker coach Bhekithemba Ndlovu believes his team is ready to fight for their place in the top flight.

“We still have 14 matches to play and we are still a long way.  We are not thinking about relegation. We are down there but we are not out,” Ndlovu said.

“It’s time to separate boys from men. We need to secure our jobs by surviving relegation.

“It’s hard to find a job these days and that on its own is a motivational factor for the players and the technical team.”

Bulawayo City have managed to secure the services of Christopher Samakweri, Munyaradzi Diya, Kelvin Nyoni, Ozias Zibande and Benson Phiri to bolster their squad during the mid-season transfer window.

They have deregistered Morris Kadzola due to injury, released Takudzwa Ndoro, Aaron Ngwenya, Tawanda Muyendi and Tawanda Chagaresango.

They also lost Ishmael Wadi to Harare City and Clive Rupiya to Chapungu.

On today’s encounter, Ndlovu said: “It’s not an easy game, we are playing champions. We are well prepared; the boys are putting everything and working very hard.

The determination, the attitude is very positive.”