FC PLATINUM gaffer Norman Mapeza believes their opponents CNaPs of Madagascar pose a threat in their bid to make a mark in the African Champions League.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
The platinum miners are set to leave for Madagascar today, where they will play CNaPs on Wednesday in the first leg of the preliminary round.
The Platinum miners have been training at Zifa Village to acclimatise with the artificial turf on which they will play the Madagascan champions.
Mapeza believes Madagascar have improved their football as evidenced by their national team, which has already qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals to be held in Cameroon in June.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Mapeza predicted a difficult assignment.
Nevertheless, the FC Platinum gaffer is looking forward to the match with a sense of optimism.
“We have been watching their games, they are a good side. We are aware that their national team has qualified for the Afcon, which shows that there is massive football development in the country.
“I also understand they have a number of guys in the national team, and like I said, they are not a very bad side.
“Their games in the Champions League have not been well. Like us, they are in a learning process, and we just hope to get a positive result.
Mapeza said lack of exposure at continental level has been their Achilles heel in their bid to reach the group stage of the Champions League.
“I have to be honest with you guys, it’s sad when people say we don’t have quality in our team, but it’s all about experience. Look now, how many guys in our team have been involved in the national team or even in the under-23s. We can only get better through experience, so for me as a coach, I don’t want to put myself under pressure.
I don’t want to put the boys under pressure. We are going there to play, see if we can get a positive result. If we don’t get a result, that’s it! It’s football, we don’t have to put ourselves under pressure, because we are still on a learning curve,” Mapeza said.
The platinum miners have set sights on reaching the lucrative group stage, a stage they have failed to reach in their last two attempts in the Champions League and the Confederations Cup.
Early this year, they were booted out of the competition in the preliminary round by De Agosto of Angola, and this time around, they will be seeking to redeem themselves.