BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC PLATINUM gaffer Norman Mapeza has challenged his senior players to step up to the plate and motivate junior players, as the club gears up for the 2019/20 Caf Champions League, where they will face Kalisto Pasuwa’s Nyasa Bullets of Malawi in the preliminary round.
The two-time Premier Soccer League champions are seeking to reach the quarter-finals this time around, having seen their campaign end at the group stages in their last appearance in the competition.
Mapeza has decided to fuse young blood into the squad by promoting three junior players into the senior team in Panashe Mutimbanyoka, Higayiso Magaya and Keith Madera.
Congolese midfielder Nsilia Mawete has also been added into the squad.
“Even when I started playing football, we were surrounded by senior players who pushed us, guys who kept encouraging us, but I do not think that is the case with the boys here,” Mapeza bemoaned.
“The seniors need to help these boys. They need to keep them up and motivated. The young players all have potential to play at any level given the chance, but they need guidance to realise their full (potential). Yes, we are going to do everything to add more depth by getting more good players because we have tough tasks ahead of us, but those available should be able to do duty for us.”
Mapeza was forced to look for players from the FC Platinum Under-19 team following the departure of several senior and key players, including Ali Sadiki, Godknows Murwira and the Moyo twins, Kelvin and Elvis, who joined Kabwe Warriors, Dynamos and Chippa United, respectively.
Longest serving goalkeeper Petros Mhari might also be on his way out as he is currently trying his luck at Bloemfontein Celtic in South Africa.
Striker Mkhokeli Dube remains unavailable because he is away in the United States.
The trio of Mutimbanyoka, Magaya and Madera is likely to be included in the Champions league squad.
FC Platinum travel to Nyasa Bullets in a fortnight and host Pasuwa’s men on the weekend of August 23-25.
If they go past Nyasa Bullets, the platinum miners will face either Simba FC of Tanzania or Uniao Desportiva do Songo of Mozambique in preliminary round two, with the winner qualifying to the group stage of the competition.