BY FORTUNE MBELE
CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has no fears about his players burning out after their Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League participation ahead of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League programme that begins on March 30.
FC Platinum concluded business in the premier continental club competition with a 2-1 defeat to Esperance Tunis at Barboufields Stadium on Saturday, and now shift focus to retaining the Premier League Championship.
FC Platinum players have barely had a rest since conclusion of the local league programme in November last year.
Soon after bringing down the curtains to last season’s PSL programme on November 21, the Zvishavane-based side has been on the road, away to Madagascar.
Since then, they have played eight matches in the Caf Champions League first round and group stages.
Other clubs started their preparations in January and have been busy on the transfer market.
Mapeza believes that their participation in the Caf Champions League has prepared them well for the domestic competition.
“When we started to prepare for these games (Caf Champions League), our focus was on those particular games. In two weeks’ time, we are starting our league games and we are done with preparations for the league. There is nothing we are going to do (more than this) to prepare for the league games, because we have been preparing for them in this tournament. We are already prepared for the league and just waiting for it to kick off,” Mapeza said on Saturday.
The FC Platinum coach said his team had benefitted from their Caf Champions League experience, which he added would help them in the challenges that lie ahead.
In the run-up to the start of the Caf Champions League, the champions brought on board striker Lameck Nhamo from Triangle. They also acquired the services of Godknows Murwira from Ngezi Platinum Stars, including Perfect Chikwende from Bulawayo Chiefs.
Former Kaizer Chiefs forward Edmore Chirambadare briefly joined the champions in January, but had to return to South Africa to finish off his contract with South Africa’s second-tier league side Maccabi FC and could be joining FC Platinum when the second transfer window opens in July.
FC Platinum kick off their bid to defend the league title with an away game against Harare City, before a home match at Mandava Stadium against Triangle, followed by another match of the season away to new boys, Mushowani Stars, in Harare.