BY FORTUNE MBELE
FC Platinum will this afternoon seek a perfect end to an otherwise poor Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League campaign when they host the royalty of the competition, Esperance Tunis, at the City of Kings’ Barbourfields Stadium.
Their quest for delayed perfection, however, suffered a big blow with the inury of Perfect Chikwende, who was the driving force behind their impressive 2-all draw against Orlando Pirates last week.
Despite that and the loss of other players through suspensions, coach Norman Mapeza remains optimistic of a positive result.
This match will be a dead rubber in its true sense because it will not alter anything, with the holders of the trophy having already qualified while FC Platinum are already eliminated.
But despite that, the match will not be without life as FC Platinum will be looking to use this match to restore a bit of pride, considering they will soon be back representing Zimbabwe in the premier club competition on the continent.
Defenders Gift Bello, Kevin Moyo and midfielder Kelvin Madzongwe are suspended, while striker Lameck Nhamo is sidelined through injury.
Mapeza still wants to see the side that runs out today playing their hearts out for pride.
“We just have to finish our games on a good note and we continue where we left against Orlando Pirates. Everything is fine, except those guys who are suspended and definitely Perfect (Chikwende) is not going to be involved tomorrow. He got a groin problem in Johannesburg and definitely tomorrow he will be out,” Mapeza said.
The FC Platinum coach said they go into the game with the same approach they had when they ventured into the tournament.
“The attitude is the same. I will never change anything in football, whether it is a friendly or whatever it is. We play our games to win. There is no time to say we are out; not with me. It’s the mentality, the same attitude, same approach and the same desire we had when we started this Caf Champions League. We will push to win the game,” Mapeza added.
FC Platinum started the campaign with a goalless draw at home against Pirates at Barbourfields Stadium on January 12, followed by a 2-0 defeat to Esperance in Tunis six days later.
They returned home and lost 1-0 to Horoya at Barbourfields. The Guineans then completed a double over the Zvishavane-based side with a 2-0 win in Conakry on February 12, sealing FC Platinum’s fate.
They have only managed a paltry two points from two draws in five games.