We need your support: Mapeza

BULAWAYO - FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has called on the multitudes of local football fans to rally behind his side when they begin their 2018 African Champions League journey.

At the moment, the Zvishavane-based side is camping in Bulawayo where they are preparing for their preliminary round clash with Angolan side Desportivo de Agosto.

Pure Platinum Play travel to Angola for the first leg during the weekend of February 9-11 with the second leg set for Mandava Stadium the following weekend.

If Mapeza’s side gets past Agosto, they will meet the winner of the preliminary round tie between South African champions Bidvest Wits and Pamplemousses of Mauritius.

In their previous participation in the competition, FC Platinum failed to reach the group stages of the competition when they lost in the first round to Sudanese giants El Merrikh in 2012.

Last season, former champions CAPS United reached the group stages of Africa’s premier inter-club competition after defeating continental giants TP Mazembe in the final qualifying round.

This time around, Mapeza knows his side will need the help of the 12th man especially when they are playing at home if they are to make it into the group stages.

“I believe we are representing the country and we just need everybody’s support,” Mapeza told reporters.

“Whether it’s Highlanders, Dynamos, CAPS United or any other team, we should always give each other maximum support. My wish is for everyone to give us maximum support.

“Our main objective as a club is to reach the group stages. Thereafter we will sit down as a club and see what next.”

Mapeza believes his side’s preparations which commenced two weeks ago are well on course as they bid to be in shape by the time they travel for the first leg against Agosto next month.

“So far so good, I can’t complain. Ever since we came here (in Bulawayo) last week on Tuesday the training has been going on well,” the former Warriors coach said.

“I’m happy we don’t have any injuries at the moment. The atmosphere and the environment; everything is perfect.

“We just hope to continue with the same environment as we continue with preparations for our African Champions league match next month.

“This is the third time FC Platinum are representing the country in African club competition. We have a chance to go and do well.

“Now the referees are being fair than before because Caf are now responsible for paying the referees. I think fair play will prevail.”

In the transfer market, the platinum miners have brought in former Highlanders captain Rahman Kutsanzira, Black Rhinos defender Jameson Mukombwe and Harare City’s Edwin Madhanhanga.

Midfielder Nigel Papias has also been recalled after loan spells at Chapungu and Bantu Rovers last season.

The club’s other new signings are Collin Phiri, Kelvin Madzongwe and Never Tigere.

Pure Platinum Play have also looked beyond our borders where they have brought in the foreign duo of Zambian forward Shadreck Mayembe and Cameroonian Albert Eonde. 

FC Platinum had also hoped to sign Ngezi Platinum Stars utility player Liberty Chakoroma but the deal failed to materialise after the player’s current deal with his club was improved.

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