Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
FC PLATINUM gaffer Norman Mapeza has rallied his players to stop the slide which has seen them drop five points in two matches and get back to winning ways when they host CAPS United at Mandava on Saturday.
The pacesetters have struggled to win since the resumption of the second half of the season.
They lost against ZPC Kariba and were held by Yadah Stars.
The champions now host a Green Machine side which, in the past, has gone to Zvishavane and returned with something in the bag.
“Our game against CAPS United is like any other league game,” said Mapeza.
“We have to give them all the respect they deserve, like all the clubs in the league and we need to be at our best to get a positive result. I can’t talk of history, or what happened between us in the past. Such big games are sometimes won by mental strength.
“We need to pull ourselves out of this slide very quickly and start picking up points.”
Mapeza said there was no need for them to go into panic mode.
They have seen Ngezi Platinum move within four points.
“I can’t really say there is anything big that has contributed to our slow start to the second half of the season, it’s all part of football,” said Mapeza.
“We play all our games to win.
“But if we can’t get the desired results, we don’t have to lose focus because it’s part and parcel of this industry.
“We just need to stay focussed and keep working hard for us to reach our set objectives as a club.”
Mapeza said the championship race was still wide open.
“We still have 15 games to go and it’s still game on for all the clubs who are above the 30-point mark,” said Mapeza.
Ngezi Platinum got back to winning ways with a 3-1 victory at Baobab after a four-match winless run.
Coach Tonderayi Ndiraya was pleased to collect maximum points after a tough run which saw them lose 12 points on the trot. This week he travels to Harare to meet Dynamos.
“We needed to bounce back, we needed to respond and we were looking for that response in the past games we have lost, that couldn’t happen,” said Ndiraya.
“I am glad we finally collected maximum points.”
The coach will begin life without striker Terrence Dzvukamanja who bade farewell to the team when he played his last match on Saturday following his move to South African Premiership Bidvest Wits.
Ndiraya said they remained grateful to the contribution they got from their leading scorer in the first half of the season.
Saturday: Harare City v Chapungu (Rufaro, 3pm, ZTV), Bulawayo Chiefs v Bulawayo City (Luveve), FC Platinum v CAPS United (Mandava), Black Rhinos v Yadah (National Sports Stadium), Nichrut v Shabanie (Ascot).
Sunday: Dynamos v Ngezi Platinum (Rufaro, 3pm, ZTV), Herentals v ZPC Kariba (National Sports Stadium), Triangle v Highlanders (Gibbo), Mutare City Rovers v Chicken Inn (Vengere).