Mapeza's FC Platinum leave for Angola

HARARE - FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza insists they will not take too many risks when they face Angolan champions Premeiro Desportivo Agosto in the African Champions League this weekend.

Pure Platinum Play take on the Angolan champions in the first leg of their preliminary round clash at the Stadia 11   November in Luanda on Sunday.

The platinum miners flew out of the country yesterday afternoon abroad a South African Airways flight for the match that should set the tone for their bid to qualify for the group stages of the tournament.

While the reigning Zimbabwean champions will be looking for a result they hope will boost their chances of progressing to the next round, Mapeza’s men have also chosen to be pragmatic in their approach            especially given the fact that they are playing away from home.

Speaking at a press briefing shortly before their departure yesterday, the reigning Zimbabwe Coach of the Year emphasised that they would not throw caution to the wind in their quest to achieve such a result.

He said they are aware of the challenges of playing away from home and would not go for an open game against the Angolans, who he described as a “good side”.

“We have to be very cautious when we go there. I have read some articles in the press saying that Mapeza said he will go and attack; I am not a fool. I have been in this industry for quite some time now and I am aware of the challenges playing away from home,” Mapeza said.

“I had an opportunity to watch some of their local matches there and I must say they are a very good side.

“We have to be very cautious when we go there. Of course we would love to play our normal game but it depends on how the match progresses.

“We have been talking to the players on the importance of these matches and I think everybody is excited. Some of the players have been involved in matches of this magnitude and they know the challenge we are going to face on Sunday.

“So we just have to be at our best for us to come back home with a result. We are going there to try and grind a result so that when they come here we will say maybe we are 70 percent there.”

FC Platinum, will only be making their second appearance in the African Champions League, having previously participated in the 2012 edition in which they were eliminated in the first round stage by Sudanese giants El Merreikh.

On the team’s preparedness, Mapeza said he was pleased with what he saw from his charges especially during their international friendly matches against Zambian sides Zanaco and Nkana as well as Mozambique’s Ferroviaro.

“I think we are ready. Our preparations have been going on very well. We are aware of the challenges that we are going to face in Angola,” Mapeza said.

“They are a very big club and I think it’s the eighth time that they are participating in the Champions League so yeah, they will not make it easy for us.

“Our objective as a club is to reach the groups stages of this tournament. But it’s not like we are going there to surpass what CAPS United did. We just have to go and play to the best of our abilities and see how far we can go in this tournament.”

If Mapeza’s men get past Desportivo, they will then face the winner of the tie between South African side Bidvest Wits and Pamplemousses of Mauritius.

Desportivo, who are 11-time Angolan champions and have won the title in the last two years, should not be taken lightly.

The club recently appointed Serbian coach Zoran Manoljovic Maki to take over from Bosnian Dragan Jovic in their bid to do well.

The Angolan side have also signed highly rated Nigerian defender Kehind Yisa Anifowoshe from Oman side Alitihat as they prepare for the African Safari.

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