by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – WITH yet another victory secured this weekend, and his side moving to a credible tenth in the standings, Chippa United coach, Norman Mapeza, has steadied the ship that was drifting towards relegation.
The side he found rock-bottom of the Absa Premiership is among the in-form teams and although while it is too early to conclude, if current form is anything to go by, the Chilli Boys will be challenging strongly for a berth in the top eight.
Winless when he took over in April, the Zimbabwean-born coach has guided the Port Elizabeth-based side to three victories, the latest a 1-0 victory away to FC Cape Town at the Athlone Stadium.
The three points proved a turning point as Chippa moved six places up from the bottom.
Out of 14 matches played, Chippa have amassed 14 points from the three wins, five draws and six loses.
Key to Chippa’s excellent form of late is the discipline that the former Zimbabwe national team captain and coach instilled among the players.
“I am proud of the players,” Mapeza said.
He nonetheless warned against complacency.
“We have to remain focused and keep collecting points,” he said.
Mapeza was a surprise choice for the trigger-happy club owner, Chippa Mpengesi, after a horrific start to the 2018/19 campaign.
Understandably, because of the instability around the job, there was pessimism whether Mapeza would produce the results but the former FC Platinum coach refused to be drawn to off-field issues during his interviews.
Interestingly, in the next fixture, Mapeza faces his former national teammate and fellow ex-Zimbabwe captain, Kaitano Tembo when Chippa hosts Supersport United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on December 21.
After doubts over his capabilities when he took over on a permanent basis ahead of last season, Tembo has guided SuperSport United to second on the log behind runaway leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
Supersport have already won the MTN 8.
– CAJ News