Mamba expected today for Platinum clash


FC Platinum’s Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League preliminary round opponents Green Mamba are expected in the country today for Saturday’s second leg tie.

The platinum miners are confident they will finish off the Swazi side on Saturday after taking a convincing 4-2 lead from the first leg in Mbabane.

Green Mamba, who left Swaziland by road with a 28-member delegation on Monday via South Africa, will be staying in Masvingo, 88km from Zvishavane.

They will conduct their first training session at Mucheke Stadium tomorrow before travelling to Zvishavane to have a feel of a new-look Mandava Stadium on Friday.

The Swazis arrive in the country bruised and facing what could be a Herculean task of overturning the huge deficit they suffered in their own backyard a fortnight ago.

A Donald Ngoma brace and two strikes from Allan Gahadzikwa and Ali Sadiki sank Mamba at Somhlolo Stadium.

With coach Rahman Gumbo away in Burundi with the Warriors, assistant coach Tendai Chikuni is in charge of the build-up.

The Warriors are expected back in the country tomorrow, with Gumbo taking over the team’s preparations 24 hours before the match.

Club secretary Philemon Muvengwa said while Platinum go into battle carrying what looks like a healthy lead, they are not allowing complacency to creep into their camp.

“This is a normal game, just like any other match, and we play every match to win. We are confident we will finish off Mamba and progress to the next round. We are not relaxing because we beat them in the first leg, but we will just do our very best and win,” said Muvengwa.

“We have been doing well so far in all the competitive matches that we have played in. That is a big morale boost for us. We will not disappoint,” he said.

Impressively, Platinum have won all three of their competitive matches this season, starting with a 2-1 win over Motor Action in the Bob 88 Super Cup semi-finals, followed by their 4-2 Mbabane exploit, before Sunday’s triumphant Bob 88 final where they overpowered Hwange 2-0.

They have scored eight goals in the process and conceded three. What could add a spring to their step is that they bagged their first top-flight football piece of silverware on Sunday.

The renovation of Mandava Stadium into a sophisticated football facility will add to the glitz and glamour of the flamboyant Zvishavane outfit.

“Mandava is now right according to Caf. But we have always maintained that it was ready long back. Even if we had played Green Mamba in November last year, they would have found it ready. We gave it a good facelift into a high-standard sports facility,” Muvengwa said.

If they pass the Green Mamba hurdle, Platinum have a tougher assignment waiting for them as they could meet Sudan’s Al Merreikh.