NORMAN MAPEZA has demanded an immediate response from his charges following FC Platinum’s rare home defeat by ZPC Kariba at Mandava last Saturday, their second loss of this season.
The champions will travel to the capital this Saturday for a lunch time date against Yadah at the National Sports Stadium in an encounter which will also be beamed live on ZTV.
FC Platinum have turned Mandava into a fortress and they had not lost a game at the venue since 2016 until Godfrey Tamirepi’s resurgent ZPC Kariba ended that fine run by upstaging them 2-1 last Saturday.
Struggling Bulawayo Chiefs are the only side to have managed a victory over FC Platinum so far this season — a 2-0 win at Luveve on April 21.
With nearest rivals Ngezi Platinum losing their fourth game on the bounce when they were shocked 0-1 by Herentals at the National Sports Stadium, FC Platinum could have opened a nine-point lead at the top with victory over ZPC Kariba.
But the champions were having a bad day in office and not even a late 76th minute goal by Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere could stop ZPC Kariba from emerging with a crucial victory on the road.
Now Mapeza has demanded that his champions quickly restore “normal service”.
The former Warriors gaffer does not want to continue dwelling on the defeat by ZPC Kariba and challenged his troops to immediately move on and find their winning touch again.
“It’s a game of football and like I said before there will be times when we will lose games, but it’s how we react that counts,” he said.
“Credit to ZPC Kariba, they came with a plan which they executed well and we were just flat on the day.
“We need to just continue working hard, correct the mistakes that we made, we conceded from a set piece and for the goal, the offside trap was really organised, but we didn’t have the right communication at the back.
“So, we now need to move and focus on the game against Yadah, we have to keep working hard.”
The former Zimbabwe international also looks to unleash new striker Thomas Chideu, signed during the mid-season break, on 12th placed Yadah who have a knack of causing upsets.
Yadah had their confidence boosted by their 1-0 triumph over Bulawayo Chiefs at Luveve with midfielder Leroy Mavhunga’s goal, from the penalty spot, making the difference.
Chideu appears to be the only addition Mapeza will make to his ensemble in what promises to be a tougher second half of the season.
Apart from Ngezi Platinum, FC Platinum would have to shake off the challenge of Triangle, Chicken Inn, CAPS United and Harare City who all will have some say in the destiny of the title.
Mapeza has expressed satisfaction with the squad at his disposal with the likes of William Stima proving he can adequately cover for Warriors defender Kelvin Moyo, who is on Kaitano Tembo’s shopping list at SuperSport United.