FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has attempted to lift the burden of expectation on his team as they contest for a place in the Caf Champions League group stage, arguing that they are on a learning curve.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
A lot is expected from the platinum miners, who this week qualified for the first round of the Caf Champions League after thumping the Malagasy side CNaPs Sport by a 2-1 aggregate.
With his team having fallen in the first round in this year’s competition, Mapeza said his team cannot be regarded as failures as they are only a young side.
With Caps United having reached the group stage last year, pressure is on FC Platinum to go beyond that.
Now they are set for the next phase, where they will take on Congolese side Association Sportive Otoho D’oyo between December 14 and 16.
Mapeza is aware of the task at hand and has said that if his team fails at that hurdle, it will not be a disaster.
“This is my second time to compete in the Champions League, and I am still young in this competition,” he said. “So for people to say we have failed, I don’t think it’s fair on us. We are still a young club. I have been reading the history of Dynamos. They started to play in the Champions League in 1981, but only reached the semi-finals in 1998. We are just seven years old. Give us time, we are still learning; we need that experience. Even if we go to our next round, and we do not do well, I won’t be worried about that because I am still learning. The boys are learning and we need time. You cannot expect a Grade One kid to move straight to Form Four. It’s difficult because this is a different level of football.”
He said his players would have done better with experience in the national teams, but bemoaned the lack of call-ups for his players.
Only Kelvin Moyo and Rodwell Chinyengetere have had runs with the Warriors of late.
“I once spoke about our players not playing in the national team. There is none in the national team even at the Under-23s, so where do you think these guys will get the experience from? We need to get that experience, and this club needs to get that experience. We are learning, so along the way we will garner the experience we are looking for.”
The platinum miners will be fancying to achieve their goal of reaching the group stages of this tournament, having failed twice in the Champions League and once in the Caf Confederations Cup.