FC Platinum defend title; crowned Zimbabwe champions with two games remaining

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By Sports Reporter

Shabanie Mine (0) 1
FC Platinum 0

FC PLATINUM celebrated a memorable second successive Castle lager Premier Soccer Premier League title after beating relegated Shabanie Mine 1-0 at Maglas Stadium on Sunday.

Former Dynamos and CAPS United midfielder Devon Chafa scored the solitary goal of the match in the 76th minute to secure all three points for the Zvishavane platinum miners who had gone into the match needing at least a point to defend their title.

The victory over their cross-town rivals took FC Platinum’s season points tally to 74 points from 32 matches, nine ahead of second placed Ngezi Platinum with two games remaining in the season.

Ngezi Platinum beat Bulawayo Chiefs 2-0 in the other match played at Boabab Stadium in Mhondoro although it was not enough to stop FC Platinum from maintaining their dominance in Zimbabwean football.

Ngezi needed to collect maximum points coupled with a loss for FC Platinum to keep the title race alive.

FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza, who became the first local coach to win back-to-back titles in four years, was delighted after masterminding another successful campaign for the ambitious Zvishavane side.

Norman Mapeza

“Today we were playing for two results, a win or a draw but luckily we gained a win. So, it’s congratulations to the boys for a job well done,” an elated Mapeza told reporters during the post-match press conference.

“Since the beginning of the season our target was to defend the title and it was a tough road, but a number of stakeholders were rallying us.

“I want to salute our supporters, the executive, the players, the technical team and my family for always being there for me throughout this journey.

“At the end all glory goes to God for seeing us through until this day.”

The former Warriors coach said he has now set his sights on reaching the 80-point mark at the end of the season by winning their two remaining matches.

“If you look at our progress since 2014, we have been improving bit by bit and I have been talking to the boys with the objective of us achieving the 80-point mark.  So, we are going to keep pushing to achieve that goal because we are in reach,” said Mapeza.

Meanwhile, in other matches played on Sunday two first half goals by goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda Tinashe Makanda ensured Highlanders completed a 2-0 victory over Harare City at Barbourfields.

Makanda opened the scoring in the 26th minute with a brilliant strike from outside the box before he was fouled inside the box 10 minutes later to earn his side a penalty which was converted by Sibanda.

Elsewhere, Dynamos and Triangle United played to a goalless draw at Rufaro Stadium while CAPS United edged out Mutare City Rovers 1-0 at Vengere in Rusape.

Castle Lager Premier Soccer League results

Sunday: Shabanie Mine 0-1 FC Platinum, Dynamos 0-0 Triangle United, Highlanders 2-0 Harare City, Mutare City Rovers 0-1 CAPS United, Ngezi Platinum Stars 2-0 Bulawayo Chiefs

Saturday: Chicken Inn 1-1 Black Rhinos, Yadah FC 0-0 Bulawayo City, ZPC Kariba 2-0 Chapungu, Nichrut 0-2 Herentals