FC Platinum back Mapeza

HARARE - Following an underwhelming run in the Caf Champions League, FC Platinum hierarchy have thrown its full weight behind their coach Norman Mapeza as they turn attention to 2019 Castle Lager Premiership season which commences on March 30.

The platinum miners are enduring a difficult campaign in the African Safari where they remain winless in the four matches they have played thus far managing only a single point to sit at the bottom of Group B.

The champions’ matters were compounded as they remain the only side out of the 16 teams in the tournament that is yet to find target in the group stages after four matches.

Even if FC Platinum win their remaining two games against South African giants Orlando Pirates (away) and Esperance (home) next month, they would only reach seven points and cannot progress to the last eight of the competition.

And in the wake of that poor run in the Champions League, word has already been circulating in the corridors that the club was already looking at ringing changes to their technical department to give more support to Mapeza.

But the club’s spokesperson Chido Chizondo yesterday quashed the reports saying the club has confidence in Mapeza and his technical team and will not be forced to make any decisions based on their participation in the Champions League.”

“As FC Platinum we have full faith in our coach. He is with no doubt one of the finest we have in the country and beyond and we are very privileged to have him in our ranks,” Chizondo said to the Daily News.  

“We are a professional team and very structured in how we go about our business. African Safari was a good learning experience for us. There were no set targets for the coach and in any case it was an eye-opener on what is needed on that level if we are to achieve our future objectives in this tournament.

“We have leant our lessons on what needs to be done to succeed at that level. We hope to correct our shortcomings in future tournaments to become a better side. And to judge Mapeza because of this tournament will be, surely, foolish of us.

“Mapeza is a dedicated and passionate professional, who is keen to see the team succeed and we are very happy with him. We are no longer the same side since Mapeza arrived here and we are looking forward to achieve a lot of success with him in charge.”

The platinum miners travel to South Africa on March 8 to face Soweto giants the Sea Robbers, before wrapping up campaign with a home tie against Esperance on March 16.

Mapeza has already lamented the importance of their remaining two matches which he says will go a long way in preparing for the 2019 Castle Lager Premiership season.

“Our objective remains the same to win each and every game we play. We might be out of reckoning for the knockout stages of the Champions League but we want to try and wrap up on a winning note,” Mapeza said.

“For us it’s no longer just about the Champions League but also preparing for the new season. We are using the opportunity to try different combinations while working on our shortcomings. 

“There is no better way to prepare for the new season like playing against such teams like Pirates and Esperance.”

“This campaign has been an eye opener for us, it was a learning experience for everyone associated with the club. We hope to come back better next time. We now know what is needed at this level of the game and we hope to improve next time.”

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