By Mukudzei Chingwere
FC Platinum coach, Norman Mapeza is relishing the prospect of Ascot’s recently-earned coronation dais status when he leads FC Platinum’s final Castle Lager Premier Soccer League push against Chapungu on Saturday.
In the past five years, Ascot has twice hosted the matches where championships in gruelling races similar to this season’s confrontation had to be decided on the final day.
After Dynamos piped Harare City to league glory in 2012 by edging Hardbody 1-0 at Ascot on the last day of the campaign, it was CAPS United’s turn last season when they also claimed the title at the same venue after battling to a 1-0 win over a determined Chapungu on the final day.
Now FC Platinum find themselves with a similar hurdle to clear on their trip to Gweru, where they only need a victory of any margin to be crowned champions.
Any other result, which is not a win might leave a trail of broken hearts in Zvishavane as that could open the door for serial champions Dynamos to win the title.
While Mapeza says he has no special ingredients for the Chapungu tie, the potential crowning hour that awaits the Platinum miners’ remains appetising for the 2008 championship winning gaffer.
After watching his side dispatch Ngezi Platinum in a blockbuster encounter at Mandava last Saturday, the former Warriors captain felt that it might now be his turn to replicate the success of fellow coaches Calisto Pasuwa and Lloyd Chitembwe whose crowning moments came in Gweru.
“It is in our hands but we have to win our last game against Chapungu and we will be champions. We have been doing very well in our previous away matches and I think we have what it takes to win away to Chapungu,” said Mapeza.
Yesterday the title chasers were left fretting when their forward and 2010 soccer star of the year Charles Sibanda seemed uncomfortable with a knock he sustained at the weekend, but they were encouraged when he continued with the group.
“(We are) going there with the same approach like in all our previous away games and at the same time believing in our abilities as a team. Self-confidence, determination and dedication will be important as we push for our last and final lap of this long marathon,” said Mapeza.
Battle hardened Dynamos is waiting on the wings to pounce if the miners fail to withstand the weight of pressure and crumble in Gweru, where the Chapungu technical department has pledged to give their provincial rivals a run for their money.
Chapungu coach Tendai Chikuni might have once led the technical dugout at Mandava but he has vowed to make the job tough for the miners on Saturday. The Herald