FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has admitted that his team is going through a tough phase as they struggle for form in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.

The defending champions have already lost three games this season, as many losses as the whole of last year.

FC Platinum are scheduled to host ZPC Kariba on Saturday at their fortress Mandava Stadium on the back of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Ngezi Platinum.

The platinum miners are winless in the last five matches. They lost to Ngezi Platinum and Herentals while sharing spoils with Caps United, Triangle and Manica Diamonds.

Mapeza, however, is not losing hope because of the trying times.

“I'm happy with the attitude and desire, commitment which the guys are showing. I have said it before that we are in a very difficult and painful phase but this happens in football,” he said.

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“It will come to pass. If you look at our situation last season, after nine games, we were in the same position like where we are today. 'It is just a matter of time. We have to stay focused. We don't have to lose any focus especially at this point.

“Usually, as the coach I get affected and players as well. It is a matter of mental strength and knowing that this phase will pass.”

The Zvishavane-based side faces ZPC Kariba who have been a rejuvenated side following the departure of Darlington Dodo.

They beat Black Rhinos 3-1 in their last match and Mapeza expects a tough challenge as they seek to bounce back to winning ways.

“It is not going to be easy. Our history with them tells you that they always give us problems here. I have lost to ZPC Kariba, maybe twice. They always give us problems here.

“For us we know what this game means. All we need to maintain is the desire to win and succeed. They have a new coach, therefore, we expect a new type of challenge,” he added.