Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
CONTINUITY is the key word at FC Platinum as Norman Mapeza and his charges look forward to replicate the good form that saw them coming from the bottom and launching a late challenge for the Castle Lager Premiership title last season.
The Zvishavane platinum miners will engage Highlanders this afternoon in the semi-finals of the ZNA Charities Shield at Barbourfields.
However, Mapeza is looking beyond this match as he wants his side to make an impression this year.
The platinum miners had such a remarkable run in the second half last season that even when they eventually finished third behind champions Chicken Inn and runners-up Dynamos, they could still afford to celebrate the bronze.
If that good finish is anything to go by, this makes Pure Platinum Play one of the teams to look out for this season.
This is probably why their coach Mapeza has retained the core of his squad in favour of continuity. Mapeza told The Herald this week that he is happy with his team and will not look to load more players to his squad after beefing up his stocks with the likes of Young Warriors midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku, Hillary Bakacheza, Rodwell Chinyengetere and Walter Musona who returns from an abortive stint in Europe.
They join some of the key players from last season led by skipper Petros Mhari, Brian Muzondiwa, Gift Bello, Wellington Kamudyariwa, Raphael Muviwa and the Moyo twins Kevin and Elvis.
“I think we are done with our team. We are not going to bring in any new faces in terms of players. I am happy we have retained most of the players from last season.
“That is the most important thing because in football there has to be progress and continuity. Making wholesale changes, some of them unnecessary, may only mean that we will be starting all over again, which is not productive,” said Mapeza.
While playing for the championship and other silverware on offer is the primary objective of all the 16 teams, the former Warriors coach said he will not burden his side with unrealistic expectations.
“Of course in sport or life in general you have to have goals and objectives. But we don’t have to put ourselves under unnecessary pressure. Our aim is to have a good start and then see what happens from there.”
The platinum miners have had a quite pre-season and they have played probably their only big pre-season match against visiting Mwafulirwa Wanderers of Zambia last month.
They also played How Mine in the quarter-finals of the ZNA Charities Shield and won 2-1.
Mapeza believes the defending champions Highlanders will give them a good run this afternoon.
“It’s still pre-season and I think we are very blessed to be taking part in this tournament because it gives us the platform to work on our game.
“The season is starting in few weeks so we want to check on the progress that we have made in our preparations.
“We played How Mine in the last game of this tournament and we picked out some technical and tactical things that needed panel beating.
“We are also working on combinations and we can only do that with such opportunities,” said Mapeza.
FC Platinum won the ZNA Charities Shield in 2014 but opted out last year to focus on their CAF Confederation Cup campaign.
Harare City and ZPC Kariba are also still in the running this year and will play next week in the other semi-final.