The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
FC PLATINUM headed off for Guinea yesterday to face Horoya in a Caf Champions League group stage encounter with their coach Norman Mapeza targeting a win on Tuesday.
The Zimbabwean champions square off against Horoya at the Stade 28 September on Tuesday afternoon where failure to pick up maximum points will reduce their last two matches in the completion to merely fulfilling fixtures with nothing to play for. From Guinea, FC Platinum will play away against Orlando Pirates in March and Esperance at home during the same month.
FC Platinum failed to make home advantage count in their favour when they were beaten 1-0 by Horoya at Barbourfields Stadium last Saturday, a result which left them rooted to the bottom of the four-team log with just a point.
Mapeza, whose team has been training at their home ground Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane since last Monday before departing for the West African country from Harare feels that if Horoya could secure three points in Zimbabwe, they can also do the same in Guinea come Tuesday.
“We lost at home, we can also go there and get a result, it’s all about mental strength and belief,’’ Mapeza said.
The Zimbabwean champions are making their debut appearance in the mini league phase of Africa’s premier club competition and Mapeza has described playing against some of the best teams in the continent as a learning curve for him.
“Playing these top African sides has been an eye opener for me as a coach and the players as well. Difficult journey hey but with a lot of learning.”
On which areas they have been working on since the defeat last Saturday, Mapeza pointed at lack of structure as being their biggest let down.
“Football is not about this department not doing well, it’s all about cohesion, each department complementing each other, for the goalkeeper not to concede it means defenders have to be good. For the defence to look solid it means the midfielders have to be organised and for the strikers to score goals there must be a good supply or good passes from midfielders,’’ said Mapeza.
Elvis Moyo makes a return after missing the match in Bulawayo due to suspension while veteran striker Mkhokheli Dube, left out of the match day squad last Saturday made the trip to Guinea.
FC Platinum squad for Guinea:
Petros Mhari, Francis Tizayi, Raphael Muduviwa, Godknows Murwira, Elvis Moyo, William Stima, Lawrence Mhlanga, Gift Bello, Kevin Moyo, Kelvin Madzongwe, Devon Chafa, Farai Madhanaga, Rainsome Pavari, Never Tigere, Lameck Nhamo, Ali Sadiki, Rahman Kutsanzira, Mkhokheli Dube, Albert Eonde, Charles Sibanda