BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC PLATINUM will be without the trio of Kelvin Madzongwe, Kelvin Moyo and striker Lameck Nhamo when they take on Esperance on Saturday in a Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League Group B match at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.
Madzongwe and Moyo are both suspended, while Nhamo is still recovering from an injury.
The Zvishavane side will still have to play away from their home ground.
They hosted both Orlando Pirates and Horoyo at Barbourfields.
Their home-coming will be slightly spoiled by the unavailability of the trio as they seek their first win in Group B having managed two draws, while they lost three matches.
On Friday, they fought out a two-all draw in a match they at some point led 2-0 before the hosts fought back.
FC Platinum can no longer qualify for the quarter-finals, but after this experience in the group stages, they are already targeting the knockout stages in the next edition, which begins in August.
Coach Norman Mapeza is pleased with the progress that his team has made.
“I am happy with the team and the progress we have made. The team is here because of me, but this is a game of football.
“Inasmuch as we would have wanted to win these games, it was not easy, but I am very proud of my boys for proving their worth in each and every game we played in this Champions League,” he said.
“For us, it’s work in progress. It is a good experience and with the boys at my disposal, I think we will reach even bigger goals and right now, we are going to focus on the last game against Esperance before shifting focus to the local league.
“We have to push and maintain shape and I am confident the boys will deliver even more glory to the club.”
The veteran gaffer also pointed out that he was not under pressure, despite his side’s struggle on the African safari.
“In football, we play to win, but it was unfortunate we have not won. I am not under pressure. This club is here because of team effort and that needs to be applauded,” Mapeza said.
“After our false start, losing two matches in a row, I sat down with the club and they said we have done so well. This club was just promoted into the Premiership seven years ago, so for us it was a massive achievement to have reached this stage of the competition.”