FC’s pure Plat­inum progress

The Manica Post - - Sport -

THE im­pulse, nat­u­rally, would have been to rum­mage through the War­riors’ de­layed yet os­ten­si­bly in­evitable qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the 2019 To­tal Africa Cup of Na­tions fi­nals fol­low­ing their melt­down in Mon­rovia against fel­low Group G con­tenders Liberia re­cently.

But the per­sua­sion, log­i­cally, has been to ex­plore Zim­bab­wean soc­cer cham­pi­ons FC Plat­inum’s con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment af­ter they de­fended their crown and re­turned to the con­ti­nent to par­tic­i­pate in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League in­ter-club com­pe­ti­tion.

We, thus, keep it in Africa.

That the re­cently crowned kings of do­mes­tic foot­ball con­tinue to make re­mark­able progress can­not be ar­gued and is dif­fi­cult to ig­nore.

By way of com­par­a­tive anal­y­sis, coach Nor­man Mapeza and his charges have this term done bet­ter than they did last sea­son.

They have es­sen­tially im­proved on all as­pects of their game from the pre­vi­ous cam­paign. In 2018 (78 points) FC Plat­inum sur­passed 2017’s tally of 72, although they could not match or over­take the 79-point mark set by CAPS United in 2004. Over­all, the two-time ti­tle win­ners have this term notched more wins, drawn less, scored more, con­ceded less and bet­tered their goal dif­fer­ence in con­trast to last sea­son. Also, where they pipped Dy­namos (70), who ran them close, into sec­ond place by only two points the Zvisha­vane min­ers have in­creased and en­joyed a health­ier mar­gin of an enor­mous 13 points between them and chas­ing ri­vals Ngezi Plat­inum Stars at the con­clu­sion of the just-ended sea­son. An­other pos­i­tive is that Nor­man Mapeza’s charges clinched the cham­pi­onship with two games to spare, un­like last term’s race which went down to the wire and was de­cided on the fi­nal day. Put sim­ply, they have beaten their own records they set dur­ing that first cham­pi­onship-win­ning run. Pure Plat­inum Play have been ab­so­lutely mes­meris­ing this sea­son, play­ing tan­ta­lis­ing foot­ball easy on the eye while at that.

Good for FC Plat­inum is that their trainer, a self-con­fessed dis­ci­ple of Manch­ester City tac­ti­cian Pep Guardi­ola, is a purist who is un­flinch­ing in his pur­suit of ex­cel­lence steeped in an op­ti­mal fi­nesse of the game. This has also per­fectly worked as a sweet ad­di­tive to the club, which prides it­self in the pro­fes­sion­al­ism com­pass it bran­dishes and has driven it into this di­rec­tion. Yet Mapeza con­tin­ues to blaze a trail, be­ing the first coach to win the league ti­tle twice on the trot with a team from out­side Harare or Bu­l­awayo.

This, in­deed, is progress which has had more to do with di­rec­tion than speed.

Go­ing by this tra­jec­tory, the Zvisha­vane min­ers’ grip on the crown may just get firmer as they in­creas­ingly look to be the team to beat in the forth­com­ing sea­sons. And to blow wind into their sails the ti­tle hold­ers’ hi­er­ar­chy ap­pears keen to con­tinue in­vest­ing into club.

Look­ing ahead, FC Plat­inum now seek to bark up a fruit­ful tree in the African foot­ball jun­gle.

They are out to make the next step in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League.

Hav­ing failed to progress past the pre­lim­i­nary round on two pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions, they are look­ing for­ward to clear­ing this hur­dle and qual­ify for the next round. Their ma­jor ob­jec­tive is to make a mark on the con­ti­nent.

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