Mukudzei Chingwere in ZVISHAVANE
Shabanie Mine …………… 0
FC Platinum ………………. (0) 1
TRAILBLAZING FC Platinum secured the second in a row Castle Lager Premier Soccer League in Maglas with two games that can be used as a gaffer. Norman Mapeza added another pen to his coaching profile.
Newboy Devon Chafa, who previously won the league with Dynamos and CAPS United, got up from the bench yesterday to score a goal that guaranteed the platinum championship and ended all minor hopes that their closest rivals, Ngezi Platinum Stars, could have staged the Houdini bill.
Mapeza has already won three championships in his growing coaching career with a 46-year-old who first won his belts a decade ago, after he led Monomotapa to the crown in 2008.
Former captain and coach Zimbabwe wrote his story last year when he became the first coach for more than five decades to lead the team from outside Harare and Bulawayo to the highest prize in national football.
FC Platinum showed that their victory last year was not a failure, because this season they did better and sealed the second championship with luxury in the form of six points from two games to lose.
They only needed a draw against Zvishavane's rivals, but Mapeza's men now do not want to leave anything to chance and assure them that they are the crowned kings of the national game with the winners, their 23 in 32 games.
Miners kept their peace to seal the crazy championship race, which was reduced to a two-horse race between other miners, Ngezi Platinum and them for a long time.
Ngezi, under pressure to play FC Platinum, scored his coach Tonderai Ndiray with five other games, but trying to get a wire chase proved to be difficult for Mhondoro outfit.
The gap was put on the cake when they had to be crowned league conquerors in the home of fierce rivals Shabanie Mine, who had already been demoted from the elite division.
Shabanie fought boldly and missed a few days of training, which never appeared, because they were going to delay their rivals from winning the title.
Their fans, who dominated this spontaneous fight, honored the slowed miners with songs that are usually characterized by the funeral of Shon, as if they wanted to bury those derbies.
Shabanie's decision was ended when the Chafa serial champion rose from the bench to gain the most important goal, which secured the second title for his payers and a surprising sixth place for the combat midfielder.
Chafa belonged to the emerging coach Callisto Pasuwy, who won all four years of victory in the 2011-2014 season.
The former Eagles man also won the CAPS United championship in 2016, before closing the sixth yesterday.
Unlike last year in Ascot, when Platinum FC won their pristine title, which was to be decided on the last day, this time in Maglas they were deprived of glamor and splendor, which is associated with being champions, as if celebrating this success a long time ago.
Although he went on his honor and saluted the fans of FC Platinum in Maglas, Mapeza calmed down on the last whistle and tried not to show any emotion.
"Yah, we're done," he breathed a sigh of relief at the beginning of his press conference after the match.
"If you look at the development of the team, it has been like this since 2014, we've improved every season, last year we won on the last day, this time we did it with two games.
"I said the players would let us push to score 80 points, now we have 74 and we won, but we still want to win our other two games," said Mapeza.
"It was not easy to come here, needing two results, a win or a draw, but we did it in style, congratulations for the boys.
"It was not easy to congratulate boys for the beginning of the season, I want to greet boys, fans, management, technical team and my family who were very helpful in this trip.
"But at the end of the day all praise to God, if it were not for God, it was not possible," said Mapeza.
Both sides fought for a duel, but as expected, FC Platinum was more threatening. Former Hwange Dar Mbweti struck after 13 minutes, but was stopped by the well-set Biggie Temera in the goal for Shabana. A moment later, the wingman Raphael Muduviwa tried in a short interval to break the deadlock of the first free kick, which was pushed away by the home keeper before he hit the defensive shot.
Halfway through the half Muduviwa jumped out of the wing again fighting the cross towards Mkokheli Dube, but the striker's head was rejected by some great goal from Temer. After loosening, Shabanie Mine was more enthusiastic about the twelve male singers to gather them to preserve the integrity of the place.
Shortly after an hour, Maxwell Murimi shot from a distance, but his effort was wide.
Farai Madhanhang, on the other hand, thought he had found a breakthrough in the past after the impressive Temera, but Peter Muzondo set his body on the line heroically denying the auxiliary horse. However, 14 minutes before the Full Chafer, he assured that the title returned to Mandava, when he hit with a powerful shot for the previously impenetrable Temera.
Coach Shabanie Mine Alexio Sigion was disappointed with the loss, but he was full of appreciation for his courageous charges.
"It's a derby and we really wanted to win the game. We gave everything, but unfortunately it was not our day.
"Congratulations to FC Platinum, they deserve the championship, they are doing well all season.
"It's a derby, we did not want to win the championship here, but unfortunately it happened that in the other games we will try to achieve good results in order to leave the Premier League with dignity, but honestly I'm impressed by the efforts of these boys," Sigion said.