By Eddie Chikamhi
Harare City . . . . . . . (0)
FC Platinum . . . . . . (0)
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza yesterday rued the missed chance by his side to extend their lead at the top of the table after they were held to a goalless draw by Harare City at Rufaro.
Mapeza, who just came short of accusing the football leadership of unfairness after his side was made to play 24 hours before the big clash between nearest rivals Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum was, however, content with the draw which still gave them a two-point cushion at the top.
The platinum miners will be following with keen interest as Ngezi Platinum and Dynamos meet at Baobab this afternoon. With the characteristic upsurge of emotions in the final matches of the season gripping the domestic competition, the platinum miners would rather have wanted to play their matches on the same day with Dynamos, Ngezi Platinum and Chicken Inn.
“You know that question, I don’t want to be in trouble and I am not going to answer it. Let’s be honest with each other, what do you want our club to do? ‘‘If you were the FC Platinum president what were you going to say if PSL say your game is on tomorrow?” said Mapeza.
The coach, though, can also look at his decisions – including his surprise decision to pull out the lively Brett Amidu and replacing him with a defensive midfielder, Gerald Takwara, and also his questionable decision to let an out-of-sorts Rodwell Chinyengetere complete the entire match. FC Platinum started off at a cracking pace yesterday but they could not fashion out clear-cut chances after the hosts were forced to retreat into their shells in the first half and concentrate on soaking the pressure.
Charles Sibanda and Chinyengetere had the early chances when goalkeeper Tatenda Munditi twice made the risky decisions to play his defenders. “We had good opportunities in the first half. I always say it to my good friends that in life we all wish to be successful. But there are some times when you can’t. But if you can’t, you cannot force matters,’’ said Mapeza.
“We are where we are because we have been working hard and we will keep working hard. We are not going to lose focus because we have drawn today. We are still okay. ‘‘There are still four matches to go and you will never know what might happen. We have to keep believing.
“For us it’s a point gained but considering the fact that we are on top of the log some people might say look it’s two points lost for FC Platinum but we could have lost this game.
“I have to be honest, we could have lost. They had some good opportunities in the last minutes. So if I am going to mourn about the point that we gained today, I think I could be going nuts, it’s a point gained.’’ The Platinum miners now have 60 points from 30 games and are two points in front of second-placed Dynamos and three ahead of Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Harare City, who are battling for survival, are still not safe from relegation. Philani Ncube’s men were denied a golden opportunity when defender Gift Bello blocked Malvin Gaki’s shot from the line after goalkeeper Wallace Magalane had failed to handle an aerial ball from Martin Vengesayi on the right after 69 minutes. With the second half going their way, Vengesayi then fluffed another good chance with two minutes of regulation time remaining.
Harare City were still left to count their lucky stars after Kelvin Moyo’s header from Ian Nekati cross came off the upright post. Ncube said they were aiming to get five points from their remaining five matches to be safe from relegation. ‘‘It’s unfortunate we missed some chances and we also were lucky they hit the post. So I think we were supposed to share the spoils,” said Ncube.
Harare City: T. Munditi, J. Tigere, E. Madhananga, R. Uchena, H. Chapusha, T. Samanja, P. Tshuma, M. Gaki (L. Muyambo, 81st min), P. Kabwe, J. Chipangura (W. Muvirimi, 46th min), M. Vengesayi
FC Platinum: W. Magalane, I. Nekati, E. Moyo, G. Bello, K. Moyo, W. Mhango, R. Chinyengetete, B. Amidu (G. Takwara, 62nd min), H. Bakacheza (A. Sadiki, 43rd min), C. Sibanda (H. Moyo, 75th min), M. Dube. The Herald