FC Plat­inum off to Mada­gas­car

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Ricky Zililo

CASTLE Lager Premier Soc­cer League cham­pi­ons, FC Plat­inum, left the coun­try yes­ter­day for their Caf Cham­pi­ons League pre­lim­i­nary round match against CNaps Sport of Mada­gas­car.

The plat­inum min­ers quickly switched fo­cus and cut short their do­mes­tic cham­pi­onship cel­e­bra­tions and were ex­pected to ar­rive in Mada­gas­car late yes­ter­day.

They trav­elled with a squad of 19 play­ers af­ter drop­ping winger, Rah­man Kut­sanzira, who sus­tained an an­kle in­jury in their fi­nal league game of the sea­son which they drew 0-0 against High­landers in Bu­l­awayo last Wed­nes­day.

FC Plat­inum will be mak­ing their sec­ond ap­pear­ance in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League and play their first leg of the pre­lim­i­nary round on an ar­ti­fi­cial turf at the Cen­tre des Loisirs de la CNaPS Von­tovorona to­mor­row.

They will be hop­ing to snatch at least a draw in Mada­gas­car and re­turn to fin­ish off the In­dian Ocean is­landers at Man­dava Sta­dium next week.

The Castle Lager Premier Soc­cer League cham­pi­ons held two train­ing ses­sions at the Zifa Vil­lage in Mt Ham­p­den on Satur­day and Sun­day to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with the ar­ti­fi­cial turf they will play on to­mor­row.

Nor­man Mapeza, the FC Plat­inum coach, is pray­ing for a favourable re­sult in Mada­gas­car.

“We are now in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League gear and ev­ery­one is rar­ing to go. We did our own re­search on the team we are play­ing, watched a cou­ple of videos and got an idea of how they play. Most of their play­ers I un­der­stand are mem­bers of Mada­gas­car’s na­tional team, so we know the chal­lenges we are go­ing to face. We have to try and get a re­sult. If we get a draw it will be okay and if we man­age to win then it will be a bonus for us.

“We want to do bet­ter than our last Caf Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign, but we have to main­tain fo­cus and try to get a pos­i­tive re­sult from this match,” said Mapeza.

FC Plat­inum trav­elled with an ex­pe­ri­enced squad ca­pa­ble of go­ing be­yond the pre­lim­i­nary stage.

Among play­ers with con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball ex­pe­ri­ence that are part of the squad are cap­tain and goal­keeper Pet­ros Mhari, de­fend­ers Lawrence Mh­langa and Kevin Moyo, de­fen­sive mid­field­ers Win­ston Mhango and Ed­win Farai Madan­hanga as well as for­wards Rod­well Chinyengetere, Charles Sibanda and Mkhokheli Dube.

Chinyengetere and Moyo missed FC Plat­inum’s match against High­landers as they were away on na­tional duty in Liberia.

Should FC Plat­inum go past the pre­lim­i­nary round, they will face the win­ner of the game be­tween Clube De­s­portivo Primeiro de Agosto of An­gola and Congo’s AS Otoho in the first round on De­cem­ber 14.

Clube De­s­portivo Primeiro de Agosto knocked FC Plat­inum out of the 2018 edi­tion of the Caf Cham­pi­ons League.

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