Mapeza wary of struggling Rhinos
Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter
REIGNING Castle Lager Premiership Coach of the Year Norman Mapeza is excited by the signs of revival demonstrated by his team FC Platinum on their last outing following an indifferent start in defence of their title.
But the former Zimbabwe international will not be tempted to look down upon struggling army side Black Rhinos as FC Platinum travel to Harare tomorrow.
Rhinos have dropped to the bottom of the table following a miserable run which has seen them winning only one of their 10 league games.
The army side, however, have always given FC Platinum a good run for their money every time the teams meet and Mapeza believes the four-time champions will not have it easy at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
“I know it’s not going to be easy playing against Rhinos. Last season I think both games ended up in draws. The first one was a goalless draw at Sakubva and then we played 1-1 here,” he said in a pre-match press conference yesterday.
“So it’s not going to be easy. They haven’t been doing well of late but usually when teams bring in new coaches and new personnel they tend to change the way they play and they fight.
“Definitely I am expecting a game that is going to be physical because these guys are looking for something at the end of the day.”
FC Platinum had also gone through a slump in form before last week’s 1-0 win over ZPC Kariba. Mapeza’s men had failed to win in four outings before that win at Mandava.
“I am happy we managed to get a win last Saturday but I can tell we are still in the woods. We are not yet out there but I think it was very important for us to collect maximum points last weekend,” said Mapeza.
“What is important for now is to continue from where we left against ZPC Kariba last Saturday and then we see what happens because if we continue talking about what happened last season I think we may lose our direction.
“Let’s focus much on our upcoming game on Saturday and take all the positives from the last game against ZPC Kariba and try to bring them up when we play Rhinos. We had so many positives so we need to take them and build our game against Rhinos on that.”
FC Platinum are currently eighth on the log standings with 15 points from 10 starts. Rhinos, on the other hand, anchor the 18-team log table with six points from 10 games.
However, the army side said they are not pressing the panic button yet despite a miserable run that has seen them failing to win in nine straight games.
Chauya Chipembere’s woes deepened when they lost their previous two games to fellow struggling teams ZPC Kariba and new boys GreenFuel.
The bad patch has left both the club and supporters anxious. But this week they welcome their new coach Saul Chaminuka on the bench after the former Warriors assistant coach finally got the opportunity to attend the ZIFA CAF A Refresher course that ends today at the ZIFA Village.
Chaminuka was among the coaches that were not allowed by ZIFA and PSL to sit on the bench since they did not attend the initial refresher course held before the start of the season.
According to Article 32 of the CAF coaching convention, a CAF A coaching license is valid for three years after the year of issue or renewal, and a Refresher course is needed to validate the badge afterwards.
Tomorrow: Black Rhinos v FC Platinum (NSS), Bulawayo Chiefs v Cranborne Bullets (Luveve), Manica Diamonds v Yadah (Gibbo)
Sunday: CAPS United v Simab Bhora (NSS), triangle v Sheasham (Gibbo), Highlanders v GreenFuel (Barbourfields), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Dynamos (Baobab)
Monday: ZPC Kariba v Chicken Inn (NSS)