Plane fault forces FC Platinum to travel by road

BY HENRY MHARA IN BLANTYRE, MALAWI

FC PLATINUM team yesterday had to endure a 315km trip by bus from Lilongwe to Blantyre, which took them about 4hrs 30 minutes, after the plane that was supposed to carry them for their Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League preliminary match against Kalisto Pasuwa’s Nyasa Big Bullets this afternoon, had developed a technical faulty.

The match is set for the Kamuzu Stadium at 2:30pm.

The Zimbabwe champions flew into Lilongwe on Thursday night and were supposed to connect to the capital city at 7am in the morning, but found themselves
stranded at the airport after their plane developed problems and failed to take off.

With the few other domestic airlines fully-booked, the Norman Mapeza-coached side had no other alternative other than getting on the road.

The travelling glitches saw them arriving in Blantyre at around 5:30pm, throwing their training programme into chaos as they had planned to have the feel of
the match venue in the afternoon.

Instead, they had to train in the evening, but the session was restricted to only about 30 minutes.

Mapeza looked a frustrated figure as the chaos unfolded, but is hoping that the problems will not affect his players.

“We travelled about 300km by road, and sometimes it affects psychologically, but at the end of the day we are here and we have to play the game and see what
happens. It was something that is beyond our control and there is nothing we can do. We will talk to the players, because it’s all part of the game and that’s
what happens in Africa most of the time. But I think physiological we should be ready for the game,” Mapeza said.

Mapeza will be facing off against Pasuwa, another former Warriors coach in a battle of wits between two coaches viewed by many as two of the country’s finest.

Between them, they share a staggering seven local league titles with Pasuwa just edging Mapeza by one. The former Dynamos coach also won the league tittle with
Nyasa Bullets last season.

Today’s battle, while it will not fully define who is the best coach of the two, but what is certain is that the winner will not only walk away with the three
points, but also the bragging rights.

“We know Kalisto, he has done well in terms of our football back home and the game will be a huge challenge but we will just have to go there tomorrow with the
right frame of mind and try to get a positive result. Nyasa from my understanding is a very good side and we will have to be at our best to get a result,”
Mapeza said.

The Zvishavane-based side will begin this edition of the competition with a new looking squad after the departure of five key players.

They lost the Moyo twins, Kelvin and Elvis, Farai Madhanhanga, Ali Sadiki and Godknows Murwira. But Mapeza is not utterly worried because he still has loads of
experience in veterans like Devon Chafa, Never Tigere, Raphael Mudhuviwa Mkhokeli Dube, Kelvin Madzongwe and the returning Rodwell Chinyengetere, who can do
the job.

“We lost the core of the team just a month ago and we have a new team now, but I think they are capable of getting a positive result.”

Goalkeeper and captain Petros Mhari, who returned from trials in South Africa last week, did not travel with the team to Malawi because of a bereavement in his
family.

He is expected to be back for the return leg at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo, in a fortnight.

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