FC PLATINUM gaffer Norman Mapeza has lauded ZPC Kariba’s resurgence after a difficult start to the season, but he still expects his championship chasing side to collect all three points in their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Mandava Stadium tomorrow.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC Platinum have a healthy six-point lead over their nearest rivals Ngezi Platinum Stars, and Mapeza wants to maintain the cushion.
The platinum miners have enjoyed good form with victories over Dynamos, Highlanders, Ngezi Platinum Stars and Chicken Inn and, as they step into the second half of the season, they will be looking to maintain that form. Tomorrow is another big test for Mapeza in this ding-dong title charge, as the reigning champions face ZPC Kariba, who were the last side to beat them 2-1 in their fortress in 2016, courtesy of goals by Tawanda Nyamandwe and Never Tigere.
Though they thrashed ZPC 3-0 last year at the same venue, Mapeza is first to admit that things are no longer the same, as ZPC’s recovery path has been smoothsailing.
“We are playing a team which was doing very well of late despite their false start to the season. If you check, their away record has been very superb, they even won their last away match to Bulawayo Chiefs,” Mapeza said.
“We know the challenge. They made good signings. They brought in (David) Temwanjira, who is the leading goal-scorer.
So we know their intentions. They want to improve their squad and they have quality, but our goal remains the three points at stake and the bottom line is to maximise on our home advantage and improve from where we left.”
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He said that his team was prepared for a tough title run in.
“We are ready for the second half of the season, mentally I think we are ready for the game. Everyone knows how other teams have been performing in the first half of the season so now it is up to us the coaches to work more on the tactical and psychological side of the game.”
Mapeza admitted they were under pressure to maintain pole position, but believed his charges would be equal to the task.
FC Platinum are on pole position with 44 points and are six points clear off their closest rivals Ngezi Platinum, while their opponents tomorrow are on 10th position with 19 points.