BY TERRY MADYAUTA The combination of a vastly improved conversion rate this season and a water-tight defence has thrust FC Platinum in firm control of the Premier Super League (PSL) title race.
The platinum miners are the league’s pass masters and always claim a larger chunk of possession against their opponents, but it is their harassing and harrying of the opposition when they are without the ball that has been impressive this season.
With only seven goals having been conceded in 23 matches so far, their numbers are impressive as they have scored 35 goals, which is the highest in the league so far.
The goal difference, 28, is also healthy it could count as an extra point if anyone does catch up with them, which is unlikely.
Norman Mapeza’s side have been getting stronger and better with each game after a slow start. They have hit the gears where they have dropped just two points in the last 10 matches without conceding a single goal in the process.
Eight points separate them from their nearest rivals but its hard to imagine them surrendering the top spot.
Goalkeeper Wallace Magalane has been exceptional since getting the Number One jersey following Petros Mhari’s injury.
It is their style of building from the back that has been their weapon to outsmart opponents in the PSL.
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When the defending champions faced Dynamos without defender, Gift Bello in a match that ended 0-0, coach Norman Mapeza lamented his absence as he is crucial to their style of play with his ball distribution skills.
“We missed Gift Bello at the back because he is usually the one who initiates our moves from the back,” he said.
“I’m not taking anything from the guys who played today, but he (Bello) is the one who does everything for us.”
Mapeza’s fullbacks, Kelvin Mangiza and Gift Mbweti are almost always up the field squeezing their opponents or overloading the attacking spaces.
According to the veteran mentor, the philosophy that drives his team selection is essentially based on strong defence, positioning, possession and pressure.
In Bello’s absence, Mapeza has reinvented left back Nomore Chinyerere who has done exceptionally well while Lawrence Mhlanga is probably the best scoring defender in the league.
The two centre-backs play behind the midfield of Brian Banda and Blessing Moyo or Rainsome Pavari.
Even after losing a number of experienced players, Mapeza appears to have built another mean machine that looks to have the league’s main prize within its grasp.
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