Paul Mundandi Sports Reporter—
PREMIERSHIP runners-up FC Platinum have thrown their full weight behind coach Norman Mapeza, handing the former Warriors gaffer a fresh two-year mandate to guide their team.
Mapeza’s initial three-year deal with the miners expired on December 31.
But after guiding FC Platinum to within just two pints of the championship title, the Pure Platinum Play leadership, led by club president George Mawere, believe there is need for continuity and have given the coach another two years in charge of the dressing room. Since Mapeza took over in August 2014, FC Platinum have been improving in their championship campaigns.
Kugona kunenge kudada finished fourth in Mapeza’s maiden year and since then they have been going a notch up at the end of each season with the miners ending third in 2015 and second last year. There is a strong belief within the FC Platinum ranks that with the core of the side being retained and a few additions set to be made this year, they could claim the ultimate prize on the domestic scene.
FC Platinum, however, sought to settle their coach’s future before going flat out to look for new players.
“I can confirm that we extended our coach’s contract. He has been hard working and as the FC Platinum institution, we are really impressed with his work. It was unfortunate that we missed the championship this season, but he had worked very hard. He, however, managed to achieve his set targets as per his contract.
“We hope next season FC Platinum will be among the championship contenders and we still dream that we are going to be the first club after St Paul’s Musami to bring the championship title outside Harare and Bulawayo.
“We will be adding a few names to strengthen our squad. I also want to thank our major sponsor, FC Platinum Holdings, the FC Platinum fans and sympathisers who stood by us in the just ended season. We still need the same support and I hope that the institution will win medals next season,’’ Mawere said.
The FC Platinum president, however, indicated that they would make a half-year review of the coach’s performance.
“We have given our coach a target of 15 games and we are to review his performance after those games,” said Mawere.
Mapeza, a goal-driven individual with experience gained from playing at the highest level in Europe and South African and also won the Chibuku Super Cup with FC Platinum in 2014, but lost the 2016 final to fellow miners Ngezi Platinum.
FC Platinum, however, had the best defence, conceding 15 goals while losing just three matches after winning 17 and drawing 10.
Three of Pure Platinum Play’s players — Winston Mhango, Petros Mhari and Walter Musona — were selected among the best eleven players in the country last season. Mhari also lifted the Goalkeeper of The Year award in a season which FC Platinum’s only home league defeat was at the hands of ZPC Kariba.
FC Platinum remain one of the best organised clubs in the country, who also reward their players handsomely. Just last week, the miners flexed their financial muscle when snatching the signature of highly rated midfielder Brett Amidu from Dynamos. Amidu had also been a prime target of champions CAPS United.