FORMER Simba FC player Simba Nhivi has warned FC Platinum to bring their A-game if they are to progress past the Caf Champions League first round stage.
BY HENRY MHARA
The Norman Mapeza coached side easily advanced to the first round following their 4-1 aggregate win over Costa Do Sol of Mozambique.
However, as expected, the competition is getting tougher with each stage reached and will have to navigate past the Tanzanian champions in their bid to make it to the competition’s group stages.
Nhivi who played for Simba FC in 2017 reckons that the team is experienced in the Caf Champions League having perennially participated in the competition.
“Simba is the biggest team in Tanzania if not Yanga (Young Africans) and they are a very competitive side with foreigners almost in every position who can score if given an opportunity,” Nhivi told NewsDay Sport.
“You cannot underestimate the team at all. They have quality and can be a threat if not handled well. You need to be professional in your approach when playing such teams.”
The last time FC Platinum played a team from Tanzania was in 2015 when they faced off with Young Africans in a Caf Confederation Cup first round tie with the latter winning 5-2 on aggregate.
“Simba has a strong technical department as well and have been regulars in the Champions League now. FC Platinum are playing a good side but they (FC Platinum) also have quality on their side. They can beat any team if they believe in themselves and have more desire to win this game.”
FC Platinum plays host to the first round first leg at the National Sports Stadium on December 22, before travelling to Da-es-Salam for the reverse fixture a fortnight later.
“The return of Mapeza has energized the Platinum side and he is a very qualified and professional who is not new to these kinds of games. Champions league is a tough competition because it’s played by respective league champions. Whoever wants it more on the day and who is better prepared mentally physically and tactically will win,” Nhivi added.
Mapeza returned to Mandava at the end of November to replace Pieter de Jongh who was shown the exit door because he didn’t have the requisite coaching papers to coach in the Caf Champions League. The former Warriors coach enjoyed a happy return to the club that he guided to two league titles after leading the side to a 2-1 away win over Costa Do Sol.
FC Platinum won the return match 2-0, played at the National Sports Stadium, to progress to the first round. The club has set reaching the group stages of the competition as this season’s main target.
Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara