ZVISHAVANE-based Castle Lager Premier league side FC Platinum’s passage into the BancABC final comes as a welcome development for a side so desperate to justify its massive expenditure.
Report by Sukholuhle Mthethwa
Having already lost coach Tennat Chilumba, who was replaced by Lloyd Mutasa and having fizzled out in the league after a sizzling start, the platinum miners needed a ticket into the final more that any other time to rescue the season which was threatening to be a nightmare after a promising start.
Their 3-1 victory over Monomotapa on Saturday serves as a message to other clubs that they mean business under the new regime.
Goals from Donald Ngoma, Charles Sibanda and an own goal from Last Sithole gave the Zvishavane side the ticket to the final while Monomotapa got their only goal from Hillary Mugoniwa.
The final will see a Zvishavane derby after Shabanie upstaged Dynamos via a penalty shootout after the teams had played out a 1-1 draw.
Mutasa said that they were trying to build a big project and break into the elite club of big successful teams currently occupied by Highlanders, Caps and Dynamos.
“We gave it our all and we worked so well and this was reflected on the field of play. We want to try and become a big team and that can be done by getting trophies into our cabinet,” he said.
Mutasa also has a point to prove in a coaching career that has seen him sacked at Dynamos and also having an indifferent time in Swaziland.
But the former DeMbare midfielder is not short of success after he won the Bob ’87 Super Cup with Dynamos in 2011 and the Swazi Bank Cup with Green Mambas in Swaziland and will want to add a major piece of silverware on his CV.
FC Platinum joined top-flight league in 2011 in a year when they narrowly lost the championship to Dynamos on goal difference, but have struggled on the big stage since then.
A handful of invitational trophies is all they have to show for all the money they spent.
Last year, they won the Bob ’88 Super Cup after beating Hwange 2-0 at Rufaro Stadium and also won the Independence Trophy after beating Motor Action on penalties in the final at the National Sports Stadium.
With players like Charles Sibanda, and Donald Ngoma who troubled the Monomotapa defence on Saturday, as well as Nelson Maziwisa, FC Platinum have a chance of winning this year’s Cup.
They look reinvented under Mutasa, playing an exciting brand of attacking football but making it into the final will count for less if they do not take the big prize.
FC platinum often struggle against Shabanie and the match up sets a tantalising prospect of a passionate and fierce battle.
On the other hand, the 2008 league champions Monomotapa — who are struggling financially — missed out on an opportunity to ease their woes.
They dominated possession on Saturday but failed to make it count at the end of the day.
They will need to go back, refocus and reenergise for what looks to be a relegation fight after suffering a loss of form this term after having played so well last season.