FC PLATINUM made history by becoming only the third Zimbabwean football club to lift four successive championships after Premiership giants Highlanders and Dynamos.
In a fitting achievement, the Zvishavane-based side dominated the Soccer Stars of the Year list by providing three players in striker Walter Musona, defender Gift Bello and goalkeeper Wallace Magalane to cap a fine year for the platinum miners.
But while much of the attention has been pinned on Norman Mapeza and his charges, Platinum Queens – their women’s netball side – has been quietly going about their business in the Premier Netball League (PNL).
Despite being in existence for just five years, Platinum Queens appear to be slowly making the NPL their own after they successful defended their title for the second year running.
On both occasions, the Platinum Queens finished the season unbeaten, in a clear sign of total dominance by the ladies’ side.
Interestingly, the Platinum Queens has provided three players to national netball team which is scheduled to participate in the 2022 Diamond Cup Challenge in Pretoria, South Africa on Tuesday.
Similarly, others are also part of the squad and preparing for the Region Five games to be held in Lilongwe, Malawi early next month.
The coaches Simbarashe Mlambo and his assistant Stembile Banda are also part of the national team, with Mlambo the head coach and Banda the team manager for the U19 team.
The platinum miners are now expected to unleash a ladies football team next season, which is equally tipped to dominate in women’s football division. The FC Platinum Royals won promotion this year after being crowned champions in the ZIFA Central Region Women Football League. The team is led by Lindiwe Ndhlovu.
And while the club’s financial muscle has been credited for platinum teams’ continued presence at the top of the local sporting pyramid over the years, Platinum Holdings public relations manager Chido Chizondo, thinks their success is beyond just money.
“We have no secrets. Over the years we realised successful organisations ‘plan’ and that is the leaf that has allowed us to win with our various teams,” Chizondo told the Review and Mail.
“The foundation of every great team is a clear strategic position that directs, orients, and engages its members.
“The coaches are result oriented and motivate their teams to do better. Teams cannot be inspired if they don’t know what they’re working towards and don’t have explicit goals, which the coaches offer guidance to the teams and morale support which can be attributed to the team’s success.”
All the platinum teams enjoy sound backing from FC Platinum Holdings – a business arm, which was specifically formed for that purpose. Over the years, success by the sporting teams has also helped the business grow in the small mining town of Zvishavane.
Crucially, FC Platinum Holdings has made it a priority not to only focus on male sport but instead to also see the empowerment of the girl child through the sport.
“The Zvishavane community is elated by the success stories of our local teams. Sport has put this small town on the map,” Chizondo said.
“To the young people, there is hope for a better future. The young girls especially, are getting a chance to become professional athletes.
“Thriving of FC Platinum Holdings is dependent upon a sustainable community, conducive for the upliftment of young women and girls. The teams are meant to encourage the girl child that it is possible to make a livelihood based on sports. The girl child can also be a sports person, if one has a sporting talent it is possible to pursue it as a career.”
Chizondo continued: “In terms of local economic development, Mandava Stadium and the Netball court at Bethany are infrastructure that promote business around them.
“Zvishavane is literally known across Africa since the football team has played in CAF Champions’ League, exposing various business opportunities in Zvishavane and the country at large.”
Teams travel to camp in Zvishavane consuming in those days which translates to income for the business community.”
The sponsorship by FC Platinum Holdings is part of the company’s “Corporate Social Responsibility.
“The company is non-profit, FC Platinum Holdings believes that sport brings people together and unify communities, drive social change and entertainment. When the community benefits from the existence of an organisation that organisation is worth its while.
“Promotion of sports locally and nationally. We have moved from the idea that CSR is philanthropic. We are driven by ensuring that our investment is sustainable initially in the Midlands province and build across Zimbabwe.
“Charity begins at home and FCPH conducts various sporting tournaments in the province, providing sports materials for football and netball to youths in the Midlands as well as sponsoring various sporting disciplines in the Midlands and nationally.
“To a plausible extent, there is clear junior development structure. The Club works with Guinea Fowl School and Zvishavane High School as feeders with scholars on scholarships and there is a developmental side in the Central Region Division 1. A lot still can be done to go even further down to younger ages,” she says.
Local sports analyst, Martin Changachirere believes FC Platinum holding has done well in as much as promoting sports is concerned.
“Sport in general is a capital intensive industry in Zimbabwe more so, when there is little that accrues in return to the money you inject in the business.
“Platinum teams doing fairly well because healthy financial resources they enjoy. From the onset Platinum teams have adopted a corporate approach to their sporting business.
“The adoption of this corporate culture has also seen the establishment of clear-cut structures in all the sporting franchises. This has enabled these franchises to recruit and retain talented personnel both on and off the field.
However money alone is not an end to success if we are to bring into picture the recent windfall to our traditional giants Highlanders and Dynamos who are powered by Sakunda Holdings. They have continued to struggle despite having a stable financial backup. It takes putting into place critical structures in place, proper recruitment, strategic planning, sound junior policy and making sound recruitment policies at all tiers of the organization.”