Former Caps United striker, Tafadzwa “Fire” Rusike, who once had a stint in Angola and is now plying his trade for Zambian heavyweights, Zanaco has warned FC Platinum to brace for a difficult physical battle, when they face Angola’s Desportivo de Agotso in the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Rusike, who left Caps United last year after their good run in the continental club showcase, thinks FC Platinum’s passing game gives them an edge over the Angolans, is worried about the platinum miners’ conversion rate.
The former Dynamos forward, who also had a stint in South Africa, watched from the stands as his new side, Zanaco outclassed FC Platinum at Mandava Stadium last week in a international friendly.
“Coach, Norman Mapeza has assembled a strong team, which has potential to win against any opponents in the Champions League,” he said.
“They play fast football and they heavily depend on their wingers, who have incredible speed, but they should improve on their endurance levels because these Angolan teams have workaholic players, who can run until the last minute and the FC Platinum strikers also need to be more lethal in front of goal.
“I once played in Angola and their type of football is very physical and offensive with a lot of speed just like in Zambia, but FC Platinum’s passing game can upset any opposition.
“The Champions League is full of surprises, especially for teams that play with an underdog tag and if lady luck is in their favour probably another piece of history can be written.”
Mapeza and his men kick start their Champions League campaign with an away fixture on Friday in Luanda, before hosting Desportivo de Agotso at Mandava Stadium a week later.
The platinum miners’ gaffer admitted there are areas that need to be improved.
“We still have to work on our endurance and utilising chances that we get.
“We have to keep working hard because these clubs are seasoned campaigners in the Champion’s League and they have the experience, so we have a lot of learning from these guys.
“We are in the right direction, but we have to keep on working hard until we begin our campaign,” Mapeza said.
The former Galatasaray player is concerned by the lack of fire power in his squad, which was the team’s Achilles heel last season.
While they managed to stagger over the line to win the title, Mapeza knows that he won’t get away with such kind of impotence in front of goal in Africa’s premier club competition.
Alarm bells have already been sounded after the team only scored one goal in their three preparatory matches played ahead of what appears a daunting trip to Luanda.
FC Platinum beat Mozambican side, Clube de Ferroviario Beira 1-0 before they were thrashed 4-0 by Rusike’s side. Another match with Nkana Red Devils also of Zambia ended in a goalless draw.
Mapeza has swiftly moved to try and rectify that problem and yesterday, the well-resoursed side snapped Farai “Ferrari” Mupasiri from cross town rivals, Shabanie Mine.
The former Dynamos forward, who led the line with distinction last season to help Shabanie Mine escape relegation, penned a two-year contract.
No confirmation could be obtained from FC Platinum, but Shabanie Mine spokesperson, Weston Wesley said: “Shabanie Mine would like to bid farewell to captain, Farai Mupasiri, who has joined neighbours FC Platinum.”
“We wish him a bright future and it will be incomplete for us to wish him well without mentioning how he motivated his boys to sing a unity and togetherness anthem in this club. His captainship kept the boat afloat through the murky waters of relegation. He was our hero at Maglas Stadium and in Zvishavane,” he said.
Mupasiri became FC Platinum’s latest signing in what has been a very busy transfer window after they captured James Mukombwe, Rahman Kutsanzira, Never Tigere, Kelvin Madzongwe, Farai Madhananga, Albert Eonde and Shadreck Mayembe.