ZVISHAVANE – New FC Platinum caretaker coach Lloyd Mutasa heaped praises on goalkeeper Francis Tizai after his heroics at Mucheke Stadium earned them a BancABC Sup8r semifinal berth at the Highlanders expense.
The Zvishavane-based platinum miners beat Bosso 3-1 on penalties after their tie had finished goalless on Saturday.
Tizai, who made his name with Masvingo United, was the shootout hero as he used his reflex diving to the left twice to save penalties from Bosso players Simon Munawa and Bruce Kangwa.
Highlanders’ midfielder Heritein Masuku also missed his spot kick after it crashed against the post.
Mutasa described the young goalkeeper as the new Japhet Muparutsa for the way he denied Bosso on many occasion throughoutthe afternoon.
“I was greatly impressed by the goalkeeper, he reminds me of the great Japhet Muparutsa and I believe he has a great future ahead of him if he continues working hard on his game,” Mutasa told the Daily News.
“He has everything that you need in a goalkeeper and compensates his diminutive frame with reflex. I have seen him in a number of games and what makes it interesting working with him is his hunger for success.”
Tizai, who has been the favoured man between the stick ahead of Petros Mhari since Tenant Chilimba’s departure, was delighted by the praise from his new coach and promised to continue working hard until he reaches his full potential.
“It’s flattering to know that your coach speaks highly of you,” said Tizai.
“Its a great honour to be compared to the great Japhet Muparutsa even though I believe I’m still miles away from his level but this will spur me to work harder.
“It shows that I have a lot of potential as I learn the ropes.”
On his penalties saves Tizai said: “We practiced penalties during the week and I was really prepared for that eventuality. Also there was no way I was going to get out of Mucheke Stadium without being the hero.
“I made my name here and the memories should always be there especially for our fans here in Masvingo.”
With the win over Bosso, FC Platinum are still on course of winning their first major piece of silverware since joining the top flight league in 2011.
Mutasa, who sat on the bench for the first time on Saturday, said he is taking over a team that has the potential to fight for honours in all competitions this year.
“The team is compact, they have both experienced and upcoming players. In Daniel Veremu and Thabani Kamusoko you have mature and disciplined players any coach would want to build a team around,” he said.
“You can see it by the way they carry themselves on the field. Thabani has tactical discipline that you would want every player to copy and with this kind of players I think we will go far.”
In the league, the ambitious Zvishavane side are within a striking distance of log leaders Highlanders and the appointment of Mutasa has brought renewed optimism in the mining town that they can challenge for the title this year.