The last time that he was a head coach, his team, Tsholotsho, ended up being relegated and sunk into oblivion, but on Saturday, Lizwe Sweswe finally stepped out of Norman Mapeza’s shadow and into the sunshine as he wrote a new chapter after guiding FC Platinum into their second mini-league campaign of the CAF Champions League.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Mapeza’s departure three weeks ago kind of spelt doom on FC Platinum’s aspirations of another lucrative mini-league dance, but riding on the confidence the club has on him, Sweswe masterminded one of their greatest come-backs in the competition with a second half rampage in which they scored four goals to cancel two first half goals by their opponents, UD Songo.
The former Tsholotsho coach, clearly one of the best brains among the crop of young coaches, showed his nerves in the face of adversity as the tie looked to be slipping away from the Zvishavane-based miners for him to join an elite cast of coaches who managed to lead their teams into the mini-league phase of the competition — who include Sunday Chidzambga, David Mandigora, Rodwell Dhlakama, Lloyd Chitembwe and Mapeza.
At this stage last time out in the preliminary and first round, the platinum miners managed just three goals.
This term, the Sweswe-led team had a marked improvement as they managed eight goals.
Sweswe remains steadfast despite leading the platinum miners to the prestigious mini-league.
“There is no need to get over-excited because we still have a lot of work ahead of us.
“Obviously, going through to the group stage comes with a lot of benefits and confidence, but it also comes with more demanding assignments ahead of us,” he said.
“For me, it is a milestone achievement to reach such an important stage with the team considering where I came from, although we still have to improve in certain aspects of our play.
“We hope to aim higher, to raise the bar higher for the rest of the teams, and if possible, go through to the quarter-finals, but for now, we must wait for the draw and also shift focus to the league and the Chibuku Super Cup at hand.”
The cool gaffer said he was not worried about the team’s composition and he believes they are good enough to do duty for the platinum miners in all competitions.
“We all saw what they did against UD Songo and from that I believe, we have a team good enough to do duty for us,” Sweswe said.
“With the fighting spirit, dedication which they showed, I believe we can go far in all competitions.”
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) yesterday congratulated FC Platinum as well as Triangle, who also made it through to the group stage of the Caf Confederation Cup after accounting for Tanzania’s Azam following wins home and away.
“The Premier Soccer League would like to congratulate FC Platinum and Triangle for their sterling performances in the Caf inter-club competitions,” PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare said in a statement.
“We wish both teams all the best in the next assignments and we are confident that they are up to the challenge.
Both FC Platinum and Triangle have displayed their tenacity and technical know-how in overcoming their opponents at home and away in the tournament and, as such, we reiterate our congratulations to the coaches Lizwe Sweswe and Taurai Mangwiro, their technical teams, the players, management and the loyal fans for putting Zimbabwean football on the map. As the Premier Soccer League, we are extremely proud of our boys for their remarkable achievements so far in the Caf tournaments.”