Mapeza upbeat despite poor start

NORMAN Mapeza is putting up a brave face in the wake of FC Platinum’s poor start to the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) season which has seen the Zvishavane miners earning a single point in two matches and staring elimination from continental competition.

SAKHELENI NXUMALO
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

Pure Platinum Play suffered a heavy 1-5 loss to seasoned continental campaigners Young Africans “Yanga” of Tanzania in the CAF Confederation Cup, first round, first leg on March 15 in Dar es Salaam.

They were held to a two-all draw by debutants Dongo Sawmills in their first PSL match and lost 1-0 at the weekend to Caps United on Sunday.

Yanga come into town for the second leg of the Confederation Cup first round tie, with Mapeza maintaining an air of calm.

“Like I said on Sunday after the Caps game, it is still early in the season to press the panic button because there are many games still to be played,” he said.

The former national team captain who had a stint as Warriors coach, was in a similar situation in 2008 when his then team Monomotapa lost the first four games of the season, but went on to lift the league title.

“Like I said on Sunday after the Caps game, it is still early in the season to press the panic button because there are many games still to be played,”: Coach Norman Mapeza

“Like I said on Sunday after the Caps game, it is still early in the season to press the panic button because there are many games still to be played,”: Coach Norman Mapeza

He, however, refused to draw similarities between that feat and the current situation.

“We cannot talk much about the past because as far as I am concerned that is now history and all I can say is that I leave everything in God’s hands,” Mapeza said.

Asked if he would make any changes to the squad that travelled to Tanzania following the heavy defeat in the reverse fixture, Mapeza said: “The most important thing for us is to get a positive result against Young Africans at the weekend and it does not matter who plays.”

The platinum miners have a mountain to climb as they have to score four goals without reply to entertain any chance of going through to the next round of the competition.

Young Africans players undergo a training session at Sokoine Memorial Stadium in Mbeya

Young Africans players undergo a training session at Sokoine Memorial Stadium in Mbeya

A 4-0 win for FC Platinum would leave the two teams tied at 5-5 and the locals would then go through 6-5 on aggregate since they at least managed to score an all-important away goal in Tanzania courtesy of a Walter Musona free-kick.

Yanga are no strangers to Zimbabwe and many will remember them for outclassing Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium during Rahman Gumbo’s reign at the turn of the century.

The reverse fixture had ended in a 3-3 draw in Tanzania, a result which many among the Bosso faithfuls felt was good enough to ensure progress into the next round.

History has it on record though that the match was abandoned after Bosso fans reacted angrily to their team conceding twice in the second half as the visitors went on a rampage.

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