BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC Platinum gaffer Norman Mapeza has demanded a swift response from his charges following a shock defeat away to TelOne last weekend, when the defending champions host stubborn ZPC Kariba at Mandava Stadium tomorrow.
The loss to TelOne, FC Platinum’s first dent of the season, saw them dropping to fourth position on the log standing and was the latest setback in run of poor form, which has seen them falling short on each of their last two matches, where they were held by Herentals before losing to debutants TelOne.
Mapeza and lieutenants cannot afford anything other than maximum points, which could see them cede more ground to the current log leaders.
Although they have barely taken a moment’s rest following a marathon run en route to the CAF Champions League group stages, there is no excuse for the spate of poor results.
Addressing a press conference in Zvishavane yesterday, Mapeza demanded an immediate response from his charges.
“It’s not going to be easy game for us. We have always struggled against ZPC Kariba, especially at home. They will be high in confidence since they are coming from a big victory against Ngezi Platinum, but we have to win this one to cover the gap between us and those teams that are ahead of us,” Mapeza said.
“But as much as we try to push the players for better results, it is up to them to show confidence, because everyone here knows what is at stake.
“It is normal to lose a match in this industry, but we have to respond after losing. The boys have to stand up and be counted.
“We also need to be very creative. If you look at our game against TelOne, we were not that effective … and we lost. But I hope we will implement what we worked on in training,” said Mapeza, whose strikers have managed one goal in three matches.
ZPC Kariba was the only side to collect maximum points from the platinum miners at Mandava last season. They won 2-1 and Mapeza knows they may stand in their path again this term after their solid start to the season.
ZPC Kariba gaffer Godfrey Tamirepi told the NewsDay that their objective is to continue with their fine run at Mandava Stadium.
“For us it is business as usual. We respect our opponents, but the points at stake are more important to us than anything else.
“We have won our previous games at Mandava and I hope it will be the same story after the game on Saturday,” Tamirepi said.