FC PLATINUM were the best performers in the Southern and Central Region, finishing in four place and qualifying for the Mbada Diamonds in addition to winning the Chibuku Super Cup despite a slow start to the Castle Premiership season.
Having started off with Lloyd Mutasa as coach and won the CG Msipa Charity Shield and the Independence Trophy, things were not so rosy in the league race as they struggled for consistency.
Eventually, and in seventh place with 31 points, Mutasa was kicked out and replaced by former Warriors coach Norman Mapeza.
That was the tonic they needed and they picked up the ZNA Commander’s Shield and the Chibuku Super Cup, combining that with a fine run in the league where they added 20 points to their tally to finish the season on fourth.
Highlanders, following an implosion over the dismissal of Kelvin Kaindu, went for five games without a win and eventually settled for fifth spot with 45 points, meaning they are out of the Mbada Diamonds Cup they won last season.
Bosso had finished as runners up in 2013 and 2012 under the guidance of Kelvin Kaindu who “quit” the club on September 28 after their 1-3 loss to ZPC Kariba at Hartsfield Rugby Ground.
Chicken Inn were sixth, Hwange followed on position seven while How Mine finished on position eight.
Bantu Rovers are back in the Zifa Southern Region Division One League after a pathetic show which saw them being relegated weeks before the end of the season and will be joined by Shabanie Mine from the Central Region.
Chapungu survived the axe, but finished down in 12th place.
How Mine were at some point in the relegation zone, but fortunes changed for the better when Luke Masomere took over the Metallon Gold-sponsored side.
When Masomere took over, How Mine were on position 12 on the log table with 24 points from 21 games.
The former Buffaloes coach Masomere said he was happy with the team’s performance when he took over from Philani Ncube who resigned from the club after a string of poor results.
“When I took over the team they were not doing well,” he said.
“When I came in I won four games, drew four and lost one. The players put up a superb performance. No one expected that we would survive relegation because at some point the team was donating points. But look at where we ended up.”
Masomere said they were going to bring in new players as part of ensuring that they had a strong squad ahead of the 2015 season.
“‘I am looking forward to the new season,” he said.
“The future looks bright. We will definitely beef up our team. We have a good team, but we want it to be even better. I am not saying the players who are there are not delivering and I am not saying that those who come in will do wonders. What we just need to do is to beef up the team so that we have depth.”
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas said he was impressed with the team although they struggled with a six-game winless streak before Ishmael Lawe handed the team a crucial 1-0 win over Hwange in a league match at Luveve Stadium in August.
“It took time for me to adjust from Harare to Bulawayo,” he said.
“However, I feel that the team put up a good show although we went through a lean period in the league. We then managed to find the winning formula. We could have finished in a better position but it is unfortunate that we finished on position six. But overally, I was impressed.”
Highlanders coach Mark Mathe said he was not in a position to comment on this year’s performance.
“We are going to sit and evaluate the performance of the team in 2014,” he said.
“I can’t comment now because our season is not yet over. We are still to compete in the Gushungo Cup.”