The Sunday Mail
Mukudzei Chingwere in ZVISHAVANE
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
ZPC Kariba .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
NORMAN MAPEZA moved a step closer to another Castle Lager Premier Soccer League championship as his closest rival Tonderayi Ndiraya watched from the terraces at Mandava yesterday.
Ndiraya, whose Ngezi Platinum Stars side visits Mandava in the penultimate week, was on a spying mission but must have left Zvishavane worried after his team was dislodged from the top of the log.
Veteran striker Charles Sibanda scored twice and Mkhokheli Dube weighed in with another as Pure Platinum Play ran riot and took a 3-0 lead into halftime.
The result took FC Platinum to the apex with 63 points, three ahead of Ngezi who play Bantu Rovers in Bulawayo this afternoon.
Ndiraya’s team can regain top spot with victory over Bantu Rovers today and Mapeza was quick to admit that the pressure is on.
“It is still game on, we have to concentrate on our games, I cannot say we are on top because the other teams will have to play tomorrow (today),” said the Pure Platinum Play gaffer.
“Pressure is mounting now but the most important thing is we collected maximum points. First half was brilliant, we did very well but in the second half we took the foot off the pedal. We have to keep on working hard and believing.”
The Zvishavane miners surged ahead in the sixth minute when Sibanda capitalized on poor communication between ZPC Kariba goalkeeper Tendai Hove and his defence.
Three minutes later, the miners were threatening to run away with it. Former Dynamos defender Gift Bello flighted a cross to an unmarked Dube but the veteran striker blasted over.
ZPC Kariba, who literally have nothing but pride to fight for this season, were never in it.
Save for Limited Chikafa, the rest of the visitors’ players were poor ambassadors of the club and the team’s executive must be thinking of letting some go during the off season.
FC Platinum doubled their lead in the 35th minute when Dube headed home a corner kick by Mhango.
Sibanda completed his brace with a beautifully taken free kick minutes before the breather.
The miners took it easy in the second half with Mapeza making changes aimed at securing the points.
Chidzambwa accused his players of not pitching up for this clash.
“We made three blunders in the first half and got punished,” he said.
“Most of our guys did not play well. This kind of performance leaves a lot to be desired. We need to improve. If you wear a football shirt you have to play football and today the guys were disappointing.”
FC Platinum: W Magalane, I Nekati, G Bello, K Moyo, L Moyo, W Mhango, R Chinyengetere (R Muduviwa 72), N Masuku (B Muzondiwa 88), A Sadiki, C Sibanda (G Takwara 78), M Dube
ZPC Kariba: T Hove, B Zuberi, M Kunyarimwe, A Chiveya, S Appiah, T Munyanduri, D Chakupe (F Zekumbawire 58), T Chamboko (L Fiyado 86), N Tigere, R Manuvire, L Chikafa (B Nyamuzihwa 86)