FC Platinum crowned champions

SHABANIE MINE . . . . . . . . 0
FC PLATINUM . . . . . . . . (0) 1

AS expected, FC Platinum confirmed their dominance of the local league by lifting their second straight Castle Lager Premiership title yesterday with a routine win over relegated Shabanie Mine in the Zvishavane derby at Maglas Stadium.

BY TERRY MADYAUTA

Needing just to avoid a defeat to be crowned champions against their number one enemy, glory was never in doubt for this swashbuckling side coached by Norman Mapeza.

After a nervy first half, the platinum miners turned on the show in the second half, capped up by a brilliant Devon Chafa goal on 76th minute.

The midfielder, who knows how to win the league title, having lifted it with Dynamos before, dinked over the goalkeeper from just outside the box to torch wild celebrations.

The trend-setting platinum miners now become the first team outside the Harare and Bulawayo stranglehold to win two consecutive Premier League titles.

They also gatecrashed into the elite group of clubs to have successfully defended the title. The group has Dynamos, Caps United and Highlanders.

Shabanie tried to rally back and spoil the party for their main rival, but their attacking moves proved to be merely small bumps in the road as FC Platinum clung on to a famous victory in the home of their fiercest enemy.

With the victory, FC Platinum have reached an unassailable 74 point mark, with two matches to spare.

It’s a great improvement from their last season’s tally, where they narrowly beat Dynamos to the title with 72 points.

FC Platinum gaffer Mapeza, who notched his third league medal having also won the title with Monomotapa before, was elated as he continued to propel the Zvishavane side to greater heights.

“We were playing for two results, a win or a draw but luckily we gained a win. So it’s congratulations to the boys for a job well done. It was not easy but they did well to get a crucial win. Since the beginning of the season, it was a tough road but a number of stakeholders were rallying us. I want to salute our supporters, the executive, the players, the technical team and my family for always being there throughout this journey,” Mapeza said.

“In the end, all glory goes to God for seeing us through until this day.”

The former Warriors mentor has now set his sights on reaching 80 points.

“If you look at our progress since 2014, we have been improving bit by bit and I have been talking to the boys with the objective of us achieving the 80-point mark. So we are going to keep pushing to achieve that goal because it is within reach. We just must push and see if we can achieve that.
We keep praying for the best and hope the Almighty blesses us. Winning more trophies is my other target now. I failed to do that as a player, so now I must do it as a coach,” said Mapeza.

Shabanie Mine gaffer Alexio Sigion on the other hand cut a disheartened figure as he remained glued to his seat long after the final whistle.

“FC Platinum were just too good for us. They played so well and to be fair, they deserved to win and become champions. We are now focusing on the future as a team, and hoping to revive the team in the lower league,” he said.

By its high standards, this derby for once failed to live up to its billing with FC Platinum looking desperate to sew up the match at the earliest possibility.

But they were denied by Shabanie goal minder Biggie Temera who made two big saves early on, denying Gift Mbweti’s volley from inside the box and a brilliantly taken diving header by veteran striker Mkhokeli Dube.

Farai Madhanhanga also had his header from inside the penalty box cleared off the line by Polyester Shoko on the 66th minute mark with Temera already beaten.

But there was no denying substitute Chafa his brilliant cheeky goal, which they defended until the final whistle, and was followed by wild celebrations which were expected to go late into the night.

Teams

Shabanie Mine: B Temera, L Manyande, W Kahuni, N Mpofu, P Muzondo, D Taderera, P Shoko, M Murimi, T Dlakama( P Siziba, 83’), F Muza( J Sibanda, 75’), R Pakamisa( P Nyabvundu, 90’).

FC Platinum: P Mhari, R Muduviwa, G Bello, K Moyo, E Moyo, W Mhango, R Chinyengetere, F Madhanhanga, A Sadiki( N Tigere, 85’), M Dube(Chafa, 67’), G Mbweti.