BY FORTUNE MBELE
FC Platinum are primed to launch an attack of some demonic intensity when they take on Horoya Athletic Club in a Group B match of the Caf Champions League at Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon.
Norman Mapeza’s side go into this match still winless after two matches and they have failed to score a goal up to this stage.
Having played Orlando Pirates at home, where they earned a draw before the match against Esperance Tunis away from home, the Zvishavane platinum miners would have forgiven themselves for the record they carry in the Group stages so far, but coming out of today’s encounter with anything less than three points would be considered criminal.
Horoya, on the other hand, have the same record as FC Platinum points wise and are just as desperate for a win, but for Mapeza this is one match that his team just has to win.
The former Warriors coach was quite open and bold at his pre-match Press conference yesterday, revealing that he spent the week drilling his boys on an attack based approach, where they were looking to having the ball for at least 70% of the playing period.
Mapeza said, while they tried to close shop in Tunisia this time they would be looking to use up their attacking potential to paralyse their guests.
With his defence having done considerably well, he is not too worried about that area of the pitch as he focuses on breaching the Guinea side’s back line.
“Defensively we are okay, but the moment we regain possession I think we are very slow in coming out of the blocks. We are like congested. Our movement of the ball after we regain possession was a bit slow (in Tunis). We are playing at home, we have to open the doors; we have to attack and attack. Seventy percent of the time we have to attack but we have to very cautious,” Mapeza said.
Having been criticised of being too negative in Tunisia, Mapeza defended the approach, saying they would play an open game when at home.
He added: “This is football; I can’t go to Tunisia and open the gates. If we had lost 6-0 what was going to be the story now. It was going to be very embarrassing. We lost. It’s a game of football. People should know that there is no way as FC Platinum we would have gone for a game to lose. We go out there trying to get a positive result but it didn’t happen in Tunisia.”
He said he had reminded his players that the only way they could keep their campaign alive would be by winning this match.
“We are in the same position with Horoya, but now we are playing at home. We need to push if we really want to enhance our chances of progressing in the competition. We need to win tomorrow (today). So far no complaints, the guys are okay and are raring to go. Games like these sometimes are not about physical appearance; it’s about mental strength. We have come a long way so it’s now up to the boys; we just have to push tomorrow,” Mapeza said.
FC Platinum’s opponents, Horoya, held their practice session later in the day.
With the two sides clashing in the afternoon at Barbourfields Stadium, group log-leaders Orlando Pirates, who clobbered Horoya 4-0 in South Africa, host African champions Esperance at Orlando Stadium later in the evening.
Both sides are on four points.