BY TERRY MADYAUTA
ZIMBABWE’s representatives in the 2019/20 Caf Champions league FC Platinum says they will not put pressure on their coach Norman Mapeza and his players and have asked them to at least reach the group stages of the competition.
This is what they were told to achieve in their last participation in the continental’s premier club competition and it appears the rules of engagement have not changed.
“We are not putting pressure on our team since we will be balancing between the local Premier Soccer League and the Champions league. We are ready and the primary target is to reach the group stage and see if we can proceed thereafter. If we achieve that then we will be happy, but we are in a catch 22 situation in terms of players because we have a number of departures at the team,” said club chairman Evans Mtombeni.
The platinum miners will begin their quest on the African Safari in the preliminary stage one against Malawi’s Nyasa Bullets currently coached by former Dynamos gaffer Calisto Pasuwa in a fortnight.
If they pass the first hurdle, they will face either Simba FC of Tanzania or Uniao Desportiva do Songo of Mozambique in the preliminary stage two, with the winner of the two second legged tie progressing to the group stages.
FC Platinum made the group stages in the last edition, but a lot has happened in their camp since then, which could compromise their ability to achieve the same this time around.
Key players have left the club, including the Moyo twins, Kelvin and Elvis who have joined Chippa United in South Africa.
Ali Sadiki has moved to Kabwe Warriors in Zambia, while Godknows Murwira forced his way out to Dynamos on loan until the end of the season.
“We would have loved to have them, however, we still have other senior players who have played at this stage and we are sure they will play a key role in helping advance our goals. Of course we are doing everything to assist the technical team get the players that they have identified. It’s been difficult (to get players) considering that there are few players available in the market since its the mid-season,” Mutombeni said.
Meanwhile, FC Platinum are hoping to secure former star Rodwell Chinyengetere on a loan deal from Baroka FC in time for the Caf Champions League’s first match against Nyasa