Mapeza threatens to quit football . . . tempers flare after Herentals victory

FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza has threatened to quit football in protest of what he claimed to be poor officiating in this Castle Lager Premier Soccer League defeat to Herentals at the National Sports Stadium yesterday. 

The veteran gaffer though showed a lot of maturity at the death when running onto the pitch together with police details to restrain his frustrated players who mobbed referee Lawrence Zimondi over an incident that could have given Herentals their second goal. 

FC Platinum were awarded a free-kick in their defensive third with defender Lawrence Mhlanga seemingly restarting play from behind where the position was supposed to be. 

Herentals midfielder Ali Maliselo retrieved the ball, outsprinted Mhlanga before squaring Davison Marowa who, shockingly, shot over the bar with the goal at his mess. 

Agitated FC Platinum players then ran towards the referee as if to manhandle him before police officers and Mapeza stepped in to control the mayhem. 

It was an interesting ending to a game that was closely contested. 

Tino Benza scored the decisive goal 63 minutes into the match following a split through pass by Milton Chimedza. 

Maybe fate has a way of putting things together. 

FC Platinum last lost a match in Harare exactly one year ago. 

That was on April 30 to be precise. 

They lost 1-0 to Herentals in a match where tempers also ran high. 

It was match day seven just like yesterday.

And besides the last minute drama, Herentals beat FC Platinum cleanly yesterday and even Mapeza admitted they lost. 

“With the way I love football, some of these things are going to force me to quit football. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it,” emphasised Mapeza. 

“I love soccer so much. I want to see these kids develop as footballers but these things are going to force me to quit football. Why am I here? 

“I would rather go and rest. Someone can get hacked two, three times in front of you, you leave it. 

“Let’s be honest, we are going nowhere (with our football). 

“Let’s help each other here, while we do our work, you (journalists) also have a role to play. 

“Let’s be truthful, is this what we are looking for in our football? 

“Let’s be honest, where are we going? We lost, it’s a game of football and I accept.

“The emotions were too high, I had to say guys look, the match is almost over just continue,” said Mapeza. 

“I even asked the fourth official how many minutes have been added and he said he had not been signalled. Signalled by who when the 45 minutes in the second half had already been played?” 

FC Platinum were looking to pocket the maximum points and equal log leaders Highlanders’ 14 points tally. 

But it was Herentals who moved to eighth place from 13th after taking their tally to 10 points with this key win yesterday. 

The Students’ coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuza hailed his charges’ ability to apply themselves as per instruction. 

“We beat FC Platinum on tactics. We had to be cautious at the back and make sure we restrict them from playing their usual passing game,” said Mutiwekuziva. 

FC Platinum remained fifth on the log with 11 points under their belt. – The Herald

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