The Sunday Mail
Makomborero Mutimukulu in GWERU
Chapungu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
FINALLY , after 1 203 days in the job, Norman Mapeza delivered the one thing FC Platinum could not buy with all their money — a maiden Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title.
Doing what he did at Ascot yesterday was the reason why Pure Platinum Play turned to Mapeza after parting ways with Lloyd Mutasa on August 10 2014.
But the journey to being the kings of Zimbabwean football was never smooth with some sections of the FC Platinum fans initially accusing their coach of “shutting them out of the club.”
They just couldn’t comprehend how Mapeza would bring to an end the pre-match rituals that involved visiting sangomas and prophets on the eve of matches.
There were days too when the club’s executive felt their gaffer was hard-headed and not readily open to advice.
During those days, talk of firing Mapeza and replacing him with Kallisto Pasuwa did the rounds but the FC Platinum players always bailed their coach out with crucial wins.
But these players were not always ready to die for their gaffer, they struggled to adjust to the former Warriors midfielder’s management style.
However, after a series of bust ups both on the pitch and in boardroom, FC Platinum found their range and yesterday they stepped into Ascot Stadium with destiny in their hands.
The last time these two teams met, Chapungu booted FC Platinum out of the Chibuku Super Cup with a 1-0 win at Mandava.
But yesterday there was only one team that was in it and it wasn’t the hosts who have featured in a last day title deciding tie for the second consecutive season.
Last term, Caps United lifted the trophy at Ascot after beating Chapungu 1-0 and yesterday, FC Platinum waltzed their way to the title at the expense of their Midlands neighbors.
The visitors were 2-0 up inside 10 minutes, with Rodwell Chinyengetere and Ali Sadiki getting the goals.
In the build up to this one, Chapungu had promised to make life tough for FC Platinum but they never did.
The visitors’ goalie Wallace Magalane was underemployed while in midfield Chinyengetere had the freedom of Ascot.
Despite bossing the first half, Mapeza still felt the need to remind his men what was at stake as well as how close they were to achieving it.
As he did that, the FC Platinum executive members were busy dancing to Jah Pryzah’s anthem, Kutonga Kwaro.
Did having President Emmerson Mnangagwa as their patron give the Pure Platinum bosses a bit of bounce as they danced to the song of the moment?
“Most definitely, he is our patron and we are celebrating his rise to the highest office in the land with him. We also know that he is celebrating this moment with us as well,” said Pure Platinum Play president George Mawere. Elsewhere during an eventful halftime, the people who call the shots at Chapungu were publicly questioning the decision to field third choice goalie Joseph Ferinando while Roy Mazingi was on the bench. How Phillip Marufu played at right back was also a mystery to them.
Chapungu coach Tendai Chikuni threw in Brighton Mugoni and Maxwell Mavuto for Allan Tavarwisa and Emmanuel Chitauro at the start of the second half.
That switch, which saw the hosts exhausting their substitution quota, changed little for them.
They remained abysmal, comical even.
FC Platinum played it cool, seating deep and slowly turning themselves from champions designates to the real deal.
During a post-match interview, Mapeza looked and sounded like a man who had just had a huge yoke removed from his shoulders.
“Glory to God, we have worked hard for this. I want to thank the players, the executive, my family especially my wife and kids, they are not here but they have been very supportive.
“I also want to thank my father who has also supported me,” said the FC Platinum gaffer.
Chapungu FC: J. Frenando, P. Marufu, R. Bota, T. Ndhlovu, B. Mbavarira, M. Muchingami, L. Gwerima, E. Chitauro, A. Tavarwisa, O. Mukuradare, B. Sahondo
FC Platinum: W. Magalane, I. Nekati, G. Bello, K. Moyo, E. Moyo, W. Mhango, R. Chinyengetere (G. Takwara 75mins), N. Masuku, G. Mbweti, A. Sadiki, M. Dube