ZVISHAVANE: FC Platinum’s title defence preparations may have suffered a major setback after championship winning coach Norman Mapeza was forced to take time off to recover from a back injury.
Mapeza was visibly in pain during the team’s ill-fated Champions League campaign.
Assistant coach Lizwe Sweswe has taken over the reins and will be in charge when the champions play in a four-team Roy Mazingi memorial tournament at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.
The tournament, organised to honour the late Chapungu goalkeeper who passed on in January, will feature FC Platinum, Chapungu, league debutants Nichrut and Shabanie Mine.
Mapeza’s absence from the team’s training sessions raised speculation that the former Warriors defender had likely parted ways with his employer.
The club however assured fans that he was still in charge.
“FC Platinum notes with concern false reports circulating in the media to the effect that Mr Norman Mapeza, who is currently the FC Platinum Head Coach has resigned,” said Club President George Mawere, in a statement Friday.
“FC Platinum wishes to advise the public that the Mr Norman Mapeza, is currently on sick leave. It is our hope that he will return to work fully recovered as we prepare to defend our historic Premier League title in the 2018 football season.”
Mawere said they take the health of their employees seriously.
“As FC Platinum, our employees’ health and safety remains a top priority and we pledge to give Mr Norman Mapeza all the necessary support to ensure that he quickly recovers.
“Meanwhile, Mr Lizwe Sweswe will act as the Head Coach in his (Mapeza’s) absence.”