BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC PLATINUM will be depleted when they face Hwange in a Castle Lager Premier League football match at Mandava Stadium tomorrow, but coach Norman Mapeza is still confident that his team can return to winning ways following their setback on Monday.
The champions were held to a 2-all draw by newly-promoted Mushowani Stars in Harare and Mapeza wants to see his side improve in the defence aspect of their game.
Kelvin Madzongwe, Rahman Kutsanzira, William Stima and Wallace Magalane are all injured and will miss the match against high-riding Hwange, who have had a perfect record in the top-flight so far.
Mapeza acknowledged that losing the quartet was a major setback for his team.
“Madzongwe, Rahman, Stima, Magalane will be out, but I am sure next week they will be back. It’s a setback because those are the guys who have been doing well for us. I hope they will be back in time for our clash against Chicken Inn next week,” he said.
Mapeza has demanded maximum points from his charges after they dropped points for the first time this season against Mushowani.
On the other hand, Hwange have been riding high on their return to the top-flight, having collected maximum points in all their three assignments to date.
They accounted for the scalp of Yadah, Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum, but Mapeza is not worried about their rivals’ records, though admitting that his side faces a tough challenge.
“We are playing a very good team which had a very good start to the season. They have three wins out of three games, so we really know the challenge we are going to face on Saturday. We are ready,” the Pure Platinum play mentor said.
“Hwange have been winning, so I think they are very solid in all departments. They have been scoring and conceding less, so we are focusing on the whole team and not selecting few areas.
“Despite getting only a point in Harare, where we played against Mushowani, I was happy with the boys’ performance and I think we have to continue from where we left.”
Mapeza is also worried at the rate his side has been conceding goals. In the opening three games, they have conceded three goals and have scored six.
“I am happy we have been scoring goals, but I am also not happy that we have been conceding,” he said.
“Sometimes, we get worried in terms of our defending, especially considering that some of the goals could be avoided. In Harare, we conceded a penalty, which on a good day could have been avoided.
“But its work-in-progress. We are at the infancy of the season, so we have to work and rectify those areas.”