BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC PLATINUM coach Pieter de Jongh (pictured) has heaped praise on his predecessor Norman Mapeza who he said created a mean machine which will take years for local rivals to catch up with.
Mapeza, who is now coaching Chippa United in the South African league, won back to back league championships with the Zvishavane club in 2017 and 2018 seasons, before leaving in the middle of last season.
FC Platinum still went on to win the league title last year under assistant coach Lizwe Sweswe, but much of the credit for their triumph went to Mapeza.
Under the former Warriors coach, FC Platinum played a distinctive fast pace flowing brand of football.
De Jongh, who joined from Highlanders, is pleased with the team that he has inherited, and believes he can make it even stronger.
“There is discipline here,” the Dutchman said. “There is professionalism and co-operation from the players. I came here to win, and bring more glory to the squad. It’s a big task but I am sure it will be made easy because everyone at the team is used to winning and I think everyone will co-operate well in all our assignments.
“The previous coach did a great job. He left a good cultured team. He is a great man even in Zimbabwean history books and winning two titles in a row,” he said.
For all of Mapeza’s prowess on the domestic scene, he found the going tough in the Caf Champions League where he failed to guide FC Platinum beyond the group stages.
But the Dutchman has promised FC Platinum glory on the continent.
His first assignment in charge of the team in the African Safari was a commendable 1-1 draw against Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the Caf Champions League Group B match a fortnight ago.
FC Platinum host Al Hilal Omdurman of Sudan at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo tomorrow, hoping to salvage some pride. They will complete their group campaign with a trip to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia next month.
The Zimbabwean champions have one point from their four group matches, and areup for contention for a place in the knock-out stage.
The top two teams from the group advance to the next stage.