PURE, PRIME, POLISHED PLATINUM


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The resurgence of FC Platinum has mesmerized many local football fans.

Norman Mapeza’s side is firing from all cylinders and their rich vein of form has been seen by some, as just a result of their financial muscle.

But the Platinum miners’ resurgence, which has seen them win their last seven league games, is not entirely because of dollars and cents, its more of dollars and sense.

In January, they showed the exit door to a number of senior players at the club, to usher-in a new age-limit policy.

“Ultimately these players’ contracts have expired but what has happened to the club is we have agreed on a position in letting go of players that have reached a certain age,” the club’s spokesperson Chido Chizondo told Soccer24 in January.

“That said, the players who have left have reached that age and we can only hope that wherever they decide to go, we wish them all the best and they will achieve the things they need to achieve in their lives.

“As FC Platinum, our positioning is to have a more youthful squad and I think if you noticed as we played the Chibuku Super Cup, the coach made a lot of effort in ensuring that the majority of the players who participated were the younger players and it did yield results,” she added.

It was a gamble which didn’t pay off initially, as they won only one of their first five matches thereafter. Senior players like Silas Songani, Kelvin Madzongwe, Ralph Kawondera and Rodwell Chinyengetere, left.

Regardless, Mapeza remained calm and kept on saying his charges will be back at the pinnacle of Zimbabwean football.

“We have a lot of youngsters and we are on a rebuilding phase, but we are not bad and we will be fine,” Mapeza said after the 0-2 defeat to Bulawayo Chiefs in February.

True to his word, the sleeping giant has awaken.

In the seven matches they have won, FC Platinum have scored 16 goals and conceded none- a defensive record shaped by the kind of player Mapeza was.

They are five points clear of second placed Chicken Inn at the summit of the table and gained further ground in the title race when they cruised past Joey Antipas’s men 3-0 in their own backyard.

But what is the secret behind the incredible FC Platinum resurgence?

Norman Mapeza’s trust in youngsters like sizzling hot forward Thandowenkosi Ngwenya, has been hailed, as well as the former Warriors captain’s fitness level, which allows him to train with them and demonstrate physically.

Ngwenya has been an integral component of the youngsters revolution at Platinum, scoring seven goals and providing four assists to date.

Performance analyst Kudzai Chitima, reckons the FC Platinum transformation was inevitable.

“When FC Platinum started the season, winning I think 1 in 5 if I’m not mistaken, if u watched closely, Mapeza was trying to find combinations, with much emphasis on the defensive shape,” explained Chitima.

“They thrive on methodical buildups and because of the departure of some of the key players like Madzongwe, who was the link between defensive and attacking transitions, it was difficult at start.
When he finally got it right, you can see how the build ups from the back are coming up, transitions, when attacking and defending are seamless.

“They are quicker now and can easily break the lines through positional rotations. This has caused them to score goals, but getting them from different scorers. Mapeza is a master of trusting his methods, and he believes in them, that’s why he is getting the results and It’s not surprising,” added Chitima.

While the 2022 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season is a long marathon, FC Platinum might be on course for a record-equalling fourth title on the bounce.