FC Platinum are champions of the local PSL
Zvishavane-based outfit FC Platinum finally ended a six-year wait after being crowned the 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions yesterday. They lifted the trophy following a 2-0 win over Air Force of Zimbabwe side Chapungu at Ascot Stadium.
Chapungu FC…… (0)0
FC Platinum……. (0) 2
The victory ensured FC Platinum scripted one of the most remarkable stories in the history of Zimbabwean football by becoming the first team outside the country’s two major cities, Harare and Bulawayo, to be crowned champions of domestic football since St Paul’s Musami in 1966.
It only took five minutes of the decisive contest for the Norman Mapeza-led side to take control of the game, as Rodwell Chinyengetere broke the stalemate with a brilliant diving header in the third minute, showing the miners’ intention to claim their maiden title.
Tendai Chikuni’s decision to throw third choice goalkeeper, Joseph Frenando into the fray proved to be a blunder when the inexperienced goalie’s poor clearance in the eighth minute went straight to Ali Sadiki, whose cool finish doubled FC Platinum’s lead.
FC Platinum could have increased their lead with Sadiki and veteran Mkhokheli Dube coming close as the visitors threatened to roll past their fellow Midlanders in a dominant first-half display.
Chapungu, however, had their chances, especially in the second half when FC Platinum seemed content with the two-goal advantage.
The airmen could, however, not break the visitors’ rearguard, which has been brilliant throughout the season, conceding just 15 goals in 34 matches.
Substitute Brighton Mugoni almost gave Chapungu a consolation after he had weaved past FC Platinum defenders, but his weak effort went straight into the hands of the platinum miners’ goalkeeper Wallace Magalane.
In the end, for the second consecutive season, Ascot Stadium provided the podium for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League coronation, after 2016 champions CAPS United won their fourth domestic title at the same venue.
This time, a new fairytale was written as FC Platinum earned their first league silverware at Ascot Stadium since they gained promotion into the topflight league six years ago.
The ambitious side will now represent Zimbabwe in next year’s edition of Africa’s premier club competition, the CAF Champions League.
Yesterday’s victory over the airmen demonstrated FC Platinum’s determination and commitment, which has been apparent in the Zvishavane miners’ journey to the Holy Grail.
With the emphatic win on the day of an exciting season finale, FC Platinum ended with 72 points, two ahead of Dynamos who also won their last match against Chicken Inn yesterday.
Mapeza, who was under pressure to finally deliver the Premiership title at the start of the campaign, was close to tears after the final whistle as he struggled to keep his emotions under control.
“We give glory to God for this win and our hard work paid off,” Mapeza said.
“I was under pressure to break this long-standing record and bring glory to our side. We thank God for seeing us through and also helping us overcome all the hurdles we faced.
“Well-done to the team for doing well. Am glad we scored and won here at Ascot where it has been difficult to win.
“The home stretch has not been easy for anyone but as a result of hard work, we won. We thank the club for giving us all that we needed to make our season a success.
“For us, this victory is sweet because we had waited for long and now we give Zvishavane glory.”
Mapeza now has two championship medals as a coach after he led the now defunct Monomotapa to glory in 2008.
Chapungu coach Tendai Chikuni was disappointed after his side failed to secure a top eight spot.
“We lost to a better team. It was a high pressure game, but well-done to the eventual winners. We wanted to win, but we failed and we hope to achieve better next season,” he said.
Chapungu FC: J Frenando, P Marufu, R Bota, T Ndhlovu, B Mbavarira, M Muchingami, L Gwerima (C Mativenga 25′), R Chitauro (B Mugoni 46′), A Tavarwisa (M Mavuto 46′), O Mukuradare, B Sahondo
FC Platinum: W Magalane, I Nekati, G Bello, K Moyo, E Moyo, W Mhango, R Chinyengetere (G Takwara 90′), N Masuku, G Mbweti, A Sadiki, M Dube
Castle Lager PSL match day 34 results:
Chapungu 0-2 FC Platinum, Dynamos 1-0 Chicken Inn, Harare City 1-0 How Mine, ZPC Kariba 2-0 Hwange, Tsholotsho 0-0 Black Rhinos, Bulawayo City 5-0 Bantu Rovers, Ngezi Platinum 0-0 Triangle, Highlanders 1-1 CAPS United, Shabanie Mine 2-0 Yadah FC.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA