Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Luanda, Angola
FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza will be hoping that his boys won’t be affected by high temperatures this evening when they take on Angolan champions Clube Desportivo Premeiro de Agosto in the first leg of the Total Caf Champions League preliminary round, at the 11 November Stadium.
The match starts at 5pm Zimbabwean time.
Since their arrival, the boys have been in high spirits but coach Mapeza was a bit worried about the high humidity levels.
“It’s humid that’s my concern but other than that we have had two training sessions since our arrival and it’s been okay, save for the weather. As for the treatment from our guests, we can’t complain, it’s been okay,” said Mapeza.
Pure Platinum had their last session at 4pm yesterday ahead of today’s showdown where they hope to stand up against a heavily built opponent that will be backed up by home crowd.
“This club we are playing is one of the best clubs in Angola. I have seen them play before on video footage and like I said, I know the challenges we will face. I understand they have been in Caf (competitions) for about eight seasons, of course, they have not been doing well, but now they have a new coach from Europe and a new coach brings a lot of things.
“We worked on the speed and sprints, it gives us an idea of the players’ recovery. It is just a short time but I think on Sunday we will be okay. But we cannot determine the type (of football) we play now, we will have to adjust.’’
The Angolan side have big and talented players which Mapeza and his charges have to deal with in this duel.
The Zvishavane based side are eyeing the group stage of the continental tournament and a resilient performance this afternoon will set them on course, provided they finish their opponents off at Mandava Stadium next week and then probably set a duel against South African side Bidvest Wits, who, despite having a torrid time in their domestic league, are favourites to get past their Mauritanian opponents.
Mapeza has already said he will take a cautious approach to the match but indications are that he will try to catch the Angolans on a counter attack to get the all important away goal and then defend for dear life.
In their last preparatory friendly against Zambia’s Nkana at Mandava Stadium, he deployed a very compact 3-5-1-1 tactical formation that had veteran Mkhokheli Dube as the lone gunman upfront.
This evening’s match will be handled by Zambian officials with Audrick Nkole the centre man and assisted by Oliver Mweene and Romeo Kasengele while Derrick Kasokota is the fourth official. Swaziland’s Jabulani Langwenya will be the match commissioner.
FC Platinum probable starting line-up
Wallace Magalane, Kevin Moyo, Elvis Moyo, Winston Mhango, Gift Bello, Lawrence Mhlanga, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Rahman Kutsanzira, Never Tigere, Ali Sadiki, Mkhokheli Dube