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Mapeza eyes history

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NORMAN Mapeza is on the brink of making history in domestic football should he win his final Castle Lager Premiership tie against Chapungu as he will be the second coach to win the championship with a team from outside Harare or Bulawayo since 1966.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

The last time a team from outside Harare or Bulawayo lifted the ultimate prize of domestic football was way back in 1966 when the now-defunct ST Paul’s FC, then based in Musami, Murewa, some 80km north-east of Harare, won it under the guidance of Antony Edward Davies.

Featuring the likes of Felix Mbidzo and Jewatt Nechironga among several stars, Davies and his men defied odds staked against them to lay their hands on the coveted title after beating Bulawayo Rovers 5-4 on aggregate. The following year, they went on to lift the BAT Cup, quite a big achievement for a team in the periphery.

Since then, teams from outside the two biggest cities have struggled to break the Harare, Bulawayo hegemony.

FC Platinum have been coming close in recent years to breaking the long-standing hoodoo since they won promotion into the topflight under different coaches including Lloyd Mutasa and Mapeza who came close to winning it.

But the former Warriors captain is on the verge of winning the struggle with a win against Chapungu in the final round of matches set to see him as the first coach guiding a team from outside Harare or Bulawayo to the championship after Davies.

The domestic league title has been reduced to a two-horse race between log leaders FC Platinum and second-placed Dynamos.

The Zvishavane-based side edged Ngezi Platinum 2-1 on Saturday to take their points tally to 69 two ahead of Dynamos who also edged Bantu Rovers 3-2 to keep themselves in the hunt.

However, all Mapeza needs now is a victory of any margin against Chapungu to realise that dream, regardless of the outcome of the other match between Dynamos and Chicken Inn.

That will see him winning his second league title as a coach since guiding Monomotapa to glory in 2008. While a win would guarantee FC Platinum the ultimate prize, a draw or even a defeat could still see them winning the title if the result matches that of Dynamos in their match against Chicken Inn which will be played at the same time as the one featuring Mapeza’s side and that of Chapungu.

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