By Godknows Matarutse
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza, pictured, is hoping his charges will maintain their momentum when the Castle Lager Premiership campaign resumes this weekend following a two-week break.
The reigning champions went into the mid-season lay off six points clear at the top of the table with 44 points ahead of their nearest rivals Ngezi Platinum Stars, who are on 38 points after 17 rounds of action.
The platinum miners are unbeaten in their last 10 matches having managed nine wins and a single draw to emerge as strong candidates to retain their title.
And in their bid to retain their title, FC Platinum have since signed highly-rated striker Thomas Chideu after he was offloaded by South Africa’s Golden Arrows.
But it’s still not clear if Chideu will be handed his debut on Saturday when FC Platinum resume their campaign with a date against a resurgent ZPC Kariba side at Mandava Stadium as he is still waiting for his reverse international clearance.
As they prepare for a date against ZPC Kariba, who went to the break on the back of an impressive run after going for four matches unbeaten, Mapeza wants his charges to be mentally strong if they are to stay at the top until the end. ZPC were also active in the transfer window as they brought in the league’s top goal scorer David Temwanjira from financially-troubled Shabanie Mine.
“I think we now need to prepare mentally for the second half of the season if we are to stay there until the end. It’s going to be a difficult task and we really need to work hard. We had a break which we also used to ensure we are mentally prepared going forward,” Mapeza told the Daily News.
“We managed to add to our ranks striker, Chideu, who is a quality player and we are hoping he will add a lot of value up front. He is already training with us but we are still waiting for his clearance and I’m not sure if he will be available for selection for the weekend’s match.”
On their game against ZPC Kariba, Mapeza knows their opponents will not make it any easy for them.
FC Platinum were handed all the three points on a 0-3 scoreline in the reverse fixture after ZPC Kariba refused to travel and play their home match at the National Sports Stadium while their stadium was still undergoing renovations.
“There will not be any easy fixtures in this second half of the season. Teams will be fighting for different causes and it will complicate things for everyone,” said Mapeza.
“But it will be good if we can continue from where we left in the first half of the season. The boys are ready and now looking forward to our match against ZPC Kariba. We are glad the break enabled some of the players who had knocks to fully recover.”
The platinum miners will, however, be missing the services of defender Kelvin Moyo, who left the country on Tuesday for South Africa to undergo trials at Absa Premiership side SuperSport United.
Saturday: Harare City v CAPS United (Rufaro), FC Platinum v ZPC Kariba (Mandava), Herentals v Ngezi Platinum Stars (NSS)
Sunday: Mutare City Rovers v Nichrut (Vengere), Dynamos v Chicken Inn (Rufaro), Black Rhinos v Highlanders (NSS), Bulawayo Chiefs v Yadah (Luveve), Triangle United v Shabanie Mine (Gibbo), Chapungu v Bulawayo City (Ascot). DailyNews