Eddie Chikamhi in HARARE and Paul Mundandi in ZVISHAVANE
NORMAN Mapeza and his FC Platinum outfit will be under the spotlight again tomorrow when they invade the National Sports Stadium in search of maximum points against Harare giants CAPS United. The platinum miners faltered in their opening match after they were held to a 2-2 home draw by newcomers Dongo Sawmill at Mandava.
Mapeza yesterday said although it was still early in the season, his side needed to start picking up points to lay a good foundation for their campaign this season.
“As I have said before, this is going to be a long marathon, and it’s still early days. It’s a fact the league is still in its infancy and there is no need to press the panic button at this stage,” said Mapeza.
“I haven’t seen CAPS United playing this year so I cannot really say anything about them.
“We got a point from our first league game last week against Dongo Sawmill and we would want to build on that.
“We have no worries in our camp and we hope to get a positive result on Sunday.”
FC Platinum dominated the meetings between the sides last year after winning 2-1 at Mandava and then forcing a goalless draw at the National Sports Stadium.
The platinum miners also handed Makepekepe their heaviest defeat when beating the Harare giants 6-0 in the final of the ZNA Charity Shield at Mandava.
But, then, many changes have taken place.
“CAPS United have a new set-up. They have new players and there is a new coach.
“There are no easy games in the league and they have an advantage over us as their fans will be rallying behind them since as they will be playing at home,” said Mapeza.
Mapeza will be looking for an improved performance from his side following last week’s draw.
It came hard on the heels of their Confederation Cup 5-1 mauling by Tanzania’s Young Africans.
Last week FC Platinum trailed Dongo for most of the time but a penalty conversion by Walter Musona, and the individual brilliance of Donald Ngoma late in injury time, rescued a point for them.
“People were expecting us to win the game against Dongo but it was not easy. We travelled all the way from Tanzania and my guys did not have enough rest and this affected our play.
“Some people do not understand it, they want us to win all the games but that’s not football because you win some, draw some and lose some.
“I am happy that my boys showed character and we managed to get a point. I am really proud of my boys,” said Mapeza.
CAPS United coach, Mark Harrison, on the other hand, will be looking to guide his side to their second straight win following last week’s 2-1 success at Whawha.
Harrison said he has a positive headache this weekend as his players have shown great determination and commitment despite the boardroom issues affecting the side.
“We have had a steady week. We registered an extra four players since last weekend and that will help strengthen our squad and give us more depth, more competition in the starting XI.
“Hopefully, that can only improve us.
“We have got no injuries. We have a full strength squad and it gives me a headache now to pick the first 18 and to pick the first XI.
“It’s a headache but it’s a nice headache. Some players are going to be disappointed I’m sure but that’s the name of the game. They have to accept that, they are professionals.
“That’s competition and if you have a healthy competition then it makes us a better squad.
“I do believe in the players I’ve got, I do believe in the style of football we play, I do believe that even if we go a goal down we can still come back into the game and win.”
Makepekepe will be looking for inspiration from their captain Hardlife Zvirekwi, Moses Muchenje and their priced signing Rodreck Mutuma, who scored a brace, which won them the match at Whawha last week.