Mapeza hopes  to break  Hwange ‘curse’ Norman Mapeza

Veronica Gwaze-Sports Reporter

FORMER champions FC Platinum will be hoping to break last season’s “curse” against Hwange when they face off in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter at Mandava this afternoon.

The platinum miners failed to overpower the coal miners and their clashes ended 0-0 and 1-1 draws.

Since 2016, the two sides have clashed seven times with FC Platinum winning three while the other four fixtures ended in draws.

Although the Zvishavane based side has never suffered defeat at the hands of Hwange, head coach Norman Mapeza has cautioned his boys never to forget the tides of last season.

His dream to overpower Hwange seems understandable, given their postings against Greenfuel and Highlanders on match day 10 and 11 in that order.

FC Platinum overpowered Greenfuel 1-0 at Zvishavane before travelling to Bulawayo where they won 2-0.

This left them seated on position two on the log table with 21 points, only one behind leaders Manica Diamonds.

“After the Highlanders game, we picked a lot of positives, I give credit to the boys because they played really well and they need to bring the same spirit heading into this one,” said Mapeza.

On the other hand, bottom placed Hwange will be without a substantive coach after axing Nation Dube and his executive after a series of poor results.

They anchor the league table with just seven points from 11 matches.

The coal miners last tasted victory in March when they beat Yadah one-nil at the Colliery, and as winless streak persisted, Dube and his entire backroom staff had to exit camp.

Today, Chipangano will be under the mentorship of caretaker coach Njabulo Dube.

And Mapeza refuses to read much into their current predicament.

“From what I hear, Hwange have been playing good football, we should not be fooled by the position that they currently find themselves in because we know what they are capable of doing,” said Mapeza

“It is a match that we need to take seriously, we need to put everything into that game.

Mapeza, who boldly declared at the start of the season that the team’s intentions are to bring the championship to Zvishavane again, said his boys have to fight to reach their target at the end of the season. The reputable coach won the title with FC Platinum in 2017, 2018 and 2022.  However, last season, just when many hoped to see the celebrated gaffer extend his dominance in the domestic league, the Zvishavane-based side gave up the title.

They completed the season on position four with 55 points, 10 behind eventual champions Ngezi Platinum Stars.

Manica Diamonds and Chibuku Super Cup Winners Dynamos were in second and third positions, respectively. After picking two wins in a bounce lately. Mapeza seeks to turn the purple patch into a winning streak.

“Our objective since the beginning of the season is to maximize home advantage,” he said.

“We do not want to take anything for granted especially in front of our families and fans hence our home games are very important for us. 

“It is of paramount importance for me, the other coaches, players and stakeholders to make sure that our fans are happy because we have to depend on them often. 

“Our fans have been fantastic, if you look at the numbers especially when we played against Highlanders, it appeared like more people are now coming to support us which is very encouraging. 

“The emotional and moral support keeps us going so the noble way to pay them back is by winning and giving them something to be happy about; our relationship is largely wired that way.”

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