UNDER-PRESSURE FC Platinum coach, Norman Mapeza will seek solace in the Chibuku Super Cup, where his team will be looking to progress to the finals of the tournament, when they clash with Harare City in a last-four match at Mandava Stadium on Saturday. BY FORTUNE MBELE
Mapeza saw his relationship with FC Platinum supporters sour after the team dropped points in a 1-1 draw against Ngezi Platinum, which saw the Zvishavane-based side drop to third position on the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table with their title ambitions taking a hit.
“I always said it that the race was still on and there was no need to start celebrating when we were leading. I knew there was competition from other teams and it was too early for anyone to say it’s ours,” he told the media yesterday.
Caps United, who staged a dramatic comeback against city rivals Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday to earn a point and maintain a stranglehold at the top, were bundled out of the Chibuku Super Cup in the first round and will be recharging their batteries ahead of the resumption for the league race.
For FC Platinum and Highlanders, the heat is on in the cup competition.
Although they are still in with a chance of claiming the league title, FC Platinum’s campaign has wobbled in the last two matches, where they picked up just a single point.
FC Platinum fans were not amused with Mapeza after the draw against Ngezi Platinum and he has a chance to appease them on Saturday.
It will be a revenge mission for FC Platinum after the 1-2 league defeat to Moses Chunga’s side just over two weeks ago at Rufaro Stadium, a match in which Mapeza felt hard done by the match officials.
“We have no one to blame than ourselves for giving away those points, although, of course, there were some talking points about refereeing in that match. We failed to defend our lead and there is no need to continue crying about it. We have to try and pick ourselves, and see how it goes in the remaining games. We might now have to follow the results of other teams, but we are not panicking at all and only God knows how this will end,” he said.
In 2014, FC Platinum won the same competition under Mapeza after accounting for Harare City in a match that was decided by a penalty shootout.
With their chances of winning the league title slightly dwindling, the importance of the Chibuku Super Cup has increased for the platinum miners who want to end the season with some form of silverware.
But it will be another tough prospect playing against a team that has performed below expectations in the league and looking to make up for a poor campaign.
As FC Platinum grapple with Harare City on Saturday, Ngezi Platinum Stars host Highlanders at Barbourfields in the other semi-final.
Bosso also know that there are no guarantees of winning the league title and will be out to settle their place in the Chibuku Cup final before they restore focus on their battle for the championship with FC Platinum and log leaders Caps United.