Mapeza feels the heat

BY FORTUNE MBELE

FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza says the departure of key players has left him struggling to juggle his thin squad who are fighting on two fronts.

The Zvishavane side will be looking to defend the league title for the second successive year, and are also on the verge of qualifying for the Caf Champions League group stages.

But Mapeza says the busy schedule is taking its toll on his squad, and injuries have made his situation worse.

“We have lost players and it’s not going to be easy. We have been trying to work on combinations, but we are struggling in terms of consistency. This week
(Kelvin) Madzongwe is playing as a centre-back, next week he is playing as a midfielder. We have lost the core of the team and it is difficult building another
during the middle of the season,” Mapeza said.

On the local front, they are well on course of winning the title again as they currently lead the log standings.

They are also two matches away from the group stages of the Caf Champions League. Following their 3-2 aggregate win over Kalisto Pasuwa’s Nyasa Big Bullets in
the preliminary round stage at the weekend, Mapeza’s side will face UD Songo of Mozambique in a two-legged round with the winner progressing to the
competition’s group stages.

The Mozambican side beat Tanzania’s Simba Sports Club in the previous round.

After an energy-sapping match against Bullets, when his side had to play part of the match with a man down, FC Platinum makes a long trip to Hwange tomorrow
for a league match.

FC Platinum lost five key players in mid-season with twin defenders Kevin and Elvis Moyo joining Chippa United while Farai Madhanhanga is now at Bidvest Wits
in South Africa. Midfielder Ali Sadiki is now at Kabwe Warriors in Zambia while Godknows Murwira made a return to Dynamos on loan.

To make up for the departures, Mapeza has drafted in players from the club’s developmental side in Hagiazo Magaya, Panashe Mutimbanyoka and Keith Madera. They
also signed Guyve Nsiala from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

They also brought in Tawana Chikore and Evidence Tendai and welcomed back Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere on loan from South
Africa’s Baroka FC.

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