BY FORTUNE MBELE
FC PLATINUM coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh is hoping that the government will sanction the club’s group training plan this week as they are running out of time to adequately prepare for the return to Caf Champions League action.
The 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions start their Caf Champions League campaign next month and soon after the tournament’s dates were announced, they applied to Zifa to start group training last month.
It’s been a month now and FC Platinum are yet to get any response from Zifa, the Sports and Recreation Commission and government.
De Jongh said other teams from other countries taking part in the continental football showcase were already two weeks into training with FC Platinum still inactive.
“We did our last group training on March 21 and our last (competitive) game was on March 14 when we beat Highlanders 2-0 in the Castle Challenge Cup. That is seven months ago. What we need now is direct permission for training. We have lost on time. We are reprsenting the country in the Champions League. FC Platinum must get full support in the Champions League,” he said, adding that without enough training, it would be impossible to make an impact in the tournament.
“At the moment, we still have no permission (for group training). Time is flying. Other league winners in other countries are two weeks into training and only the Zimbabwe champions are not. Normally we would need six to eight weeks. We are far behind because other clubs are already training. We must start this week. I hope this week we start training because without training, success is not possible,” De Jongh said.
To compound to FC Platinum’s problems, they have lost key players — Last Jesi and Silas Songani — to Sudan giants Al Hilal.
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The senior national team is playing a friendly match on Sunday against Malawi at the Kamuzu Stadium as part of preparations for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Algeria next month.