On Wednesday, the game of chance that has taken hold of Zimbabwean football gave birth to a new leader of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League in the form of Norman Mapeza’s FC Platinum.
By MICHAEL KARIATI
The emphasis on the date is for those who write history to put down the fact that it was on that October 18 day that Mapeza put one hand on the league title trophy, or is it the day that will determine his future at FC Platinum?
Because he has gone top of the table at this time of the season — the Zvishavane community is expecting FC Platinum to stay there until the end of the season and any slip up will see Mapeza lose a lot of friends from the community that he lives in.
Although only one point separates FC Platinum and Dynamos, the gap between “Kugona Kunenge Kudada” and Ngezi Platinum Stars is two points.
Teams that go top at this time of the season are expected to win the title and Mapeza has a point to prove.
Although those in authority at FC Platinum might not want to admit it, the truth is that Mapeza’s future at the club is hanging on this league title and if he does not win it, he may kiss goodbye to the luxury that goes along with the job.
It is a fact that Mapeza won the Chibuku Super Cup with FC Platinum in 2014, but that is nothing compared to the league title and it is only the league championship that will earn Muchina Wemajuzi respect from the Zvishavane community.
The former Warriors captain has played bridesmaid for too long and the Zvishavane family is gradually losing patience. Last season, he finished second to CAPS United after losing out on the last day of play.
In 2014, FC Platinum finished second to Dynamos on goal difference after both teams had ended with 58 points. In 2015, “Kugona Kunenge Kudada” finished third behind Chicken Inn and Dynamos after having put up a strong challenge for the title.
Another second or third place finish this time around will not be entertained in Zvishavane. So this is the last chance for Mapeza to bury the ghost of the past, and reward the FC Platinum family for all their commitment and support.
It is now or never for Mapeza and FC Platinum.
What a fair judgement?
Last Thursday, the Zimbabwean football family was hit with the news that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) had thrown Caps United out of the Chibuku Super Cup following disturbances that rocked Maglas Stadium in their quarter final showdown against Shabanie Mine.
The PSL disciplinary Committee found the Green Machine guilty of causing the abandonment of the game which was called off with 25 minutes remaining after the Harare team’s fans threw missiles onto the pitch after the match officials had disallowed what the Caps United followers believed was a genuine equaliser.
The Green Machine were thrown out of the competition on a 3-0 verdict and also ordered to pay a fine of $2 000 for their fans’ behaviour on that sunny October 8 afternoon.
What a fair judgement it was. Even when the tournament is devoid of a crowd puller, the PSL stuck to the rules and gave Shabanie Mine the semi-final berth they so much deserved.
The judgement also proved that football is football no matter how big or small a team is, rules have to be followed, and the PSL did just that.
Ordering a replay would have made a mockery of the true events of that day and also brought into question the PSL’s drive to end hooliganism in football.
It would also have been a deviation from what happened in the past and in particular, matters involving Highlanders. Bosso were fined $4 000 and lost all the three points after their fans threw missiles onto the field disputing a Dynamos goal.
Two weeks later, the Bulawayo giants were also fined $2 000 after their followers caused mayhem in their game against FC Platinum at Mandava Stadium which ended in a draw.
This time, it is Caps United on the receiving end, and what a fair decision it was.
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