ZVISHAVANE – Last Sunday’s BancABC Sup8r Cup final loss ranks as another case of so near and yet so far for FC Platinum and their coach Lloyd Mutasa.
On one hand, FC Platinum followers must have been left wondering if their team is fast becoming the nearly men of Zimbabwean football as the recent defeat must have invoked memories of Kugona Kunenge Kudada’s failure to lift the league championship in their maiden season in the top flight after choking in the penultimate game of the season.
And on the other hand, their coach Mutasa must have been left wondering what he has to do to get his hands on the coveted trophy having finished on the losing end in the 2009 final when he presided over Shooting Stars’ 2-1 loss to Lengthens.
What makes the defeat to Shabanie Mine a bitter pill for FC Platinum to swallow is the sharp contrast in financial fortunes between the sides.
Shabanie’s financial struggles are well documented while FC Platinum earned the money bags label after splashing a lot of cash around upon their promotion into the top flight in 2011.
Back then FC Platinum went on a shopping spree and brought in some of the top talent in the country but it was not enough for them to lift the league title after they lost out on goal difference to Dynamos.
The club has continued to rely on the cheque book to sign more players and this season they beat Dynamos to the signature of highly rated Zambian defender Aaron Katebe despite the champions dangling the carrot of a chance to play in continental competition.
Across town at Shabanie, the poor financial situation, that prevailed prior to Sunday’s windfall, forced the club leadership to swallow their pride and take on board loaned players from their cash rich neighbours.
The loaned players and some rejects from other teams are what Masomere has to work with while across town some players that were the hottest property in local football just a couple of years ago like Allan Gahadzikwa and Joel Ngodzo cannot make the starting XI.
After Sunday’s loss FC Platinum’s Mutasa said he would not despair as his time would come.
“I was itching to get my hands on the title but I have seen such scenarios happen not only on the local scene but even teams like Bayern Munich have played and lost in Champions League finals but eventually went on to become champions,” said Mutasa.
“I think we lost the plot when we failed to get goals in normal time and it was always going to be a disadvantage going into the penalty shoot-out after missing so many chances during regulation time.”
Shabanie Mine may be the underdogs when it comes to financial muscle but Sunday’s victory means they have gone two up on their financially stable rivals as they emerged 1-0 winners in the first half of the Castle Premiership programme.