By Langton Nyakwenda
Norman Mapeza’s two sons Njabulo (14) and Sasha (11) are not keen on football at all, they both play cricket but their father appreciates the support he has received from these special boys.
Mapeza’s wife Blandina has also been a pillar of strength throughout the 45-year-old’s football journey that culminated in a historic title last Saturday after 105 games in charge at FC Platinum.
“You know kids, they are sometimes strange,” said the FC Platinum gaffer.
“It sounds strange that my boys are not into football given my involvement in the game.
“Njabulo plays cricket, Sasha does cricket and rugby but they always encourage me when the chips are down,” revealed Mapeza.
A lot was said about Mapeza’s reign at FC Platinum after the coach played the bridesmaid role for two seasons.
Some critics were harsh, labelling Mapeza a failure after his close associate Lloyd Chitembwe, at Caps United, pipped him to the title on the last day of action last season.
The previous year, Chicken Inn ghosted to the podium when most expected the expensively assembled Pure Platinum Play to win the championship.
Did he ever think of quitting?
“That never crossed my mind,” claimed Mapeza.
“I understand so many things were said about my position as the head coach of FC Platinum in the past seasons but I remained resolute because we had set objectives as a club since 2015.
“And I managed to achieve those objectives.”
After FC Platinum became the first club from outside Harare and Bulawayo to win the league title in 50 years, Mapeza looks back at his stint in Zvishavane with pride.
A journey that began on August 10, 2014, producing a total of 58 wins, 33 draws and just 12 losses finally delivered what FC Platinum bosses had craved for since 2011 when the team was promoted into the Premiership. Mapeza has garnered 208 points out of a possible 315, which translates to a 66 per cent success rate.
His team has scored a total of 143 Premiership goals since he took over from Lloyd Mutasa.
As if that was not enough, Mapeza added yet another piece of silverware when FC Platinum clinched the Castle Challenge Cup courtesy of a 2-1 win over Harare City at Mandava yesterday.
Pure Platinum Play got their goals through man-of-the-match Rodwell Chinyengetere and veteran forward Mkokeli Dube, while Harare City responded with a goal from substitute Kudakwashe Kumwala. “It’s a fantastic achievement. It was all about the 3Ds that is Discipline, Dedication and Determination,” said Mapeza as he looked back on a glorious season.
“You see, I have a passion for this game and that is why you see me animated on the touchline.
“That makes me feel connected to the players on the pitch, and also helps to encourage and motivate them.
“But the key point to note is that it’s not all about me, because there is a lot that is involved behind the scenes. “I want to thank the FC Platinum president George Mawere and his executive, players and our fans for their support since the first day I arrived here mid-2014.
“My wife Blandina has also been great; there has been massive support from my brothers, sisters, nephews and relatives during this journey.”
Mapeza succeeds longtime friend Chitembwe on the Premiership throne and his victory last weekend means the league title has been won by Chitungwiza bred coaches on six occasions in the last seven seasons.
Kallisto Pasuwa won four straight titles with Dynamos between 2011 and 2014, Chitembwe did it with Caps United last season before Mapeza took to the podium at Ascot last Saturday.
“Succeeding a longtime friend, Lloyd (Chitembwe), is like putting the icing on the cake.
“Lloyd has been very supportive, we have come a very long way together.
“Even when he won it last year, it felt like I had also won it.
Our families are close and we grew up together in Chitungwiza,” said Mapeza. The Sunday Mail