FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has said his side are not under pressure to emulate Caps United’s good run in the 2017 Caf Champions League as the platinum miners launch their own bid with the first leg of their preliminary round tie against Angola’s Deportivo Lero Agosto on Sunday.
by Garish Phiri
Caps United reached group stage and even though they failed to advance further, the Green Machine, under the tutelage of Lloyd Chitembwe, accounted for themselves well competing with some of the continent’s big names.
In their group, Caps United recorded wins over Egyptian giants Zamalek and Algeria’s USM Alger.
FC Platinum have set themselves a target of reaching the group stages, but mapeza said the benchmark was not inspired by Caps United.
“What Caps did is good for the country, it’s good for our game, but their performance will not be a barometer for us. We just want to go and do our best, it’s our objective to reach the group stage, but we are not going out there to try and surpass what Caps did. Football differs with every game and we just want to do our best and see where it takes us,” Mapeza told a Press conference yesterday ahead of the team’s departure for Angola today.
He said that his team would approach the first leg with caution and may have to do away with their normal style of play as they seek to grind out a result away from home. “We have to be very cautions, we will not go there just to attack, I am not a fool, I have been in this industry for long time. I have seen those guys play in their local league, they are very good side, and we have to be very cautious.”
The Zvishavane-based side have left out their two foreign players Shadreck Mayembe from Zambia and Cameroonian Albert Eonde, whom they signed during the off-season, as they are not yet match fit.
“We have signed a number of players. We brought in two foreigners, they are very good players, but they have not got to the fitness levels that we want them to be at. They have adjusted well to the way we play but their fitness levels have to improve.”
FC Platinum know how good their opponents are, but that is not the only big challenge as they have to contend with hot and humid conditions that they will encounter in Angola.
“We know it’s very hot and humid out there, but we have tried to prepare the players for that challenge so that they can be able to cope.”