Pi­rates coach con­fi­dent of brush­ing aside FC Plat­inum

The Manica Post - - Sport - Sports Re­porter

OR­LANDO Pi­rates coach Mi­lutin ‘Mi­cho’ Sre­do­je­vic is con­fi­dent that the Buc­ca­neers will brush aside chal­lenges from Tu­nisian gi­ants Esper­ance, Zim­bab­wean cham­pi­ons FC Plat­inum and Guinean out­fit Horoya AC in Group B CAF cham­pi­ons league to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals

The Soweto gi­ants were pit­ted against Tu­nisian gi­ants Esper­ance, Zim­bab­wean cham­pi­ons FC Plat­inum and Guinean out­fit Horoya AC in Group B draw.

“We knew depend­ing on the seed­ing sit­u­a­tion, we would get two strong sides and one playable team,” Sre­do­je­vic told Ka­wowo.

“In that re­gard, Or­lando Pi­rates is sat­is­fied that we are in a group with de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Esper­ance,” he con­tin­ued.

Esper­ance clinched the Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle for the third time last month af­ter de­feat­ing record eight-time win­ners Al Ahly of Egypt in the fi­nal.

“They are a playable team re­mem­ber­ing that in the semi-fi­nal against Primeiro de Agosto, how they went through needed sup­port from else­where and they later won the Caf Cham­pi­ons League,” he added.

The Blood and Gold fin­ished fifth at the re­cent 2018 Fifa World Cup fi­nals af­ter de­feat­ing Mex­i­can side Guadala­jara.

“Af­ter play­ing in the Club World Cup, they need to go to the draw­ing board, how they will com­pete we shall see but we want to chal­lenge them,” the Ser­bian coach ex­plained.

Mi­cho, who reached the 2011 Caf Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nals with Su­danese gi­ants Al Hi­lal Om­dur­man, re­spects Horoya, but he is con­fi­dent that his side will per­form well in the group stage.

“They are a team of the best play­ers in West Africa play­ing in Guinea with play­ers from Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nige­ria and other coun­tries sur­round­ing Guinea - top class play­ers and well-funded team and with the high­est am­bi­tion af­ter reach­ing quar­ter fi­nals would want to go fur­ther. We re­spect that, but at the same mo­ment, we have our plans,” he added.

“They are a very good com­pet­i­tive team with no big names, but hard to play against such teams that have no big names but have a point to prove,” he in­di­cated

“In that re­gard, very com­pet­i­tive group but we have the play­ers with tal­ent and qual­ity and I be­lieve we shall get re­sults that will take us to the quar­ter fi­nals of the Caf Cham­pi­ons League,” he con­cluded.

FC Plat­inum hosts the South African premier league gi­ants on Satur­day next week, but will not en­joy home ad­van­tage af­ter Caf con­demned their sta­dium.

CAF has con­demned Mandava sta­dium for fail­ing to meet ‘min­i­mum re­quire­ments’ for this stage of Africa’s pres­ti­gious club com­pe­ti­tion.

ZIFA con­firmed the de­vel­op­ment in a me­dia state­ment signed by the As­so­ci­a­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Com­pe­ti­tions Man­ager Xolisani Gwe­sela.

Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment, only Bar­bour­fields and Na­tional Sports Sta­dium meet CAF re­quire­ments. FC Plat­inum has opted to play their match at Bar­bour­fields.

“The Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball (CAF) ad­vised ZIFA that FC Plat­inum’s tra­di­tional home ground, Mandava Sta­dium does not meet min­i­mum re­quire­ments for this stage of Africa’s pres­ti­gious club com­pe­ti­tion.

“The other sta­dium ho­molo­gated by CAF to host group stage matches for in­ter-club com­pe­ti­tions is the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium but FC Plat­inum selected Bar­bour­fields sta­dium for con­ve­nience,” reads part of the state­ment.

Gwe­sela said CAF will con­tinue to in­spect Mandava and other sta­di­ums to check if they meet the stan­dard.

“CAF will con­duct fur­ther in­spec­tions for Mandava sta­dium, Bar­bour­fields sta­dium and Na­tional sports sta­dium go­ing for­ward,” he said in a state­ment.

By reach­ing the group stage, FC Plat­inum joined the likes of Caps United, Dy­namos and Monomo­tapa as Zim­bab­wean teams to reach that stage. It is only DeMbare that past the group stages twice.

Or­lando Pi­rates gaffer Mi­lutin ‘Mi­cho’ Sre­do­je­vic

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