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Worthy champions: Pure Platinum Play chase immortality

By Nigel Matongorere

After sealing their second Castle League Premiership title on the spin over the weekend, Norman Mapeza and his FC Platinum side are now looking at inking their names in the history books of local football.

Norman Mapeza salutes FC Platinum supporters
Norman Mapeza salutes FC Platinum supporters

Pure Platinum Play clinched their maiden title last season when they beat second-placed Dynamos to the finish line on the last day of the season.

The 2017 title was their first since promotion to the top flight in the 2011 season.

This season, FC Platinum were unrelenting again as they went about their business in swashbuckling fashion culminating in a successful title defence which was completed by a 0-1 away win over Shabanie Mine on Sunday at Maglas Stadium.

Midfielder Devon Chafa scored the only goal of the game in the second half which took FC Platinum’s points tally to an unassailable 74 with two games to go.

Second-placed Ngezi Platinum beat Bulawayo City at Baobab Stadium on the same day but are a distant nine points behind on 65.

In their remaining two matches, FC Platinum play Ngezi Platinum (home) and Highlanders (away).

Victory in those two matches will virtually seal the Zvishavane-based side’s place among the immortals of the domestic game as it will take them to an eye catching tally of 80 points.

After the win against Shabanie Mine, Mapeza made it clear that it was going to be their challenge to reach this previously enchanted mark.

“If you look at our progress since I came here in 2014, it has been like this (going up). We still have a lot to work on,” the former Warriors captain said.

“We spoke to the guys and let’s try to get to the 80-point mark and we know that we are done. Last year, we had 72 points but now we are on 74; we just have to try and get maximum points in our remaining two games then we reach the 80-point mark.”

Since the start of the modern-day Premier League era in 1992, no team has managed to get to 80 points in a single season.

The current total points record is held by the dauntless 2004 CAPS United side led by Charles Mhlauri which managed 79 points.

Ironically, Mapeza was Mhlauri’s assistant as Makepekepe were simply irresistible on their third league championship winning 25 matches and only losing once, drawing four times.

That single defeat for United came in week 16 when they lost 3-4 to Highlanders at the National Sports Stadium in a match that will go down as one of the best thrillers in domestic football.

However, FC Platinum are on the verge of breaking that record held by Makepekepe which had now stood for the past 12 years.

In their next game they face a Ngezi Platinum side that is low on confidence following the sacking of former head coach Tonderai Ndiraya last month.

Madamburo only have a single win in their last four matches following the victory over Bulawayo Chiefs at the weekend.

In the reverse fixture at Baobab back in June, FC Platinum secured a vital 1-2 win.

Donald Teguru had given Ngezi a first half lead but Pure Platinum Play rallied in the second half to equalise through a 88th minute goal scored by Winston Mhango.

Never Tigere then sealed all three points for his side with a last gasp winner.

When they travel to Bulawayo to face Bosso in the final match of the season, FC Platinum will also be confident of getting maximum points against a side that has only one win in five matches.

After a bright start to the season, Madinda Ndlovu’s side somehow went off the radar midway through the season and currently sit in seventh place on the log some 27 points behind the champions.

In the reverse fixture, FC Platinum won the match 1-0 at Mandava Stadium with Gift Mbweti scoring the only goal. DailyNews