Mapeza seeks away goal

HARARE - Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum are hoping to keep a clean sheet and possibly sneak in an away goal when they play Angolan champions Premeiro Desportivo Agosto in the African Champions League tomorrow.

Norman Mapeza’s charges arrived in Angola on Thursday ahead of tomorrow’s first leg of the preliminary round clash at the Stadia 11 November in Luanda in a game that should set the tone for their bid to qualify for the lucrative group stages.

And speaking to the Daily News from Luanda yesterday, Mapeza said they will be looking to shut out the Angolan champions in their backyard before finishing the tie at home next weekend.

Mapeza acknowledged scoring has been his team’s biggest letdown lately but is encouraged by what he saw when his team took part in some international friendly matches last week.

FC Platinum beat Ferroviario of Mozambique 1-0 before succumbing to a morale sapping 0-4 loss to Zanaco of Zambia in their first two friendlies.

They rounded off their preparations with a goalless draw against another Zambian side Nkana.

“I have to say we have not been very clinical in front of goal. That’s the challenge we were facing even last season and it’s not about us only but also other teams in the league, they were facing the same problems,” Mapeza told the Daily News.

“It’s something that we have been working on lately to ensure we get the much-needed goals especially that we are playing away from home. It will be good if we can get an away goal. We hope to build from our pre-season matches especially on our game against Nkana.

“We played well, defended and attacked well; I was really pleased with how the boys expressed themselves and I hope we will do the same on Sunday (tomorrow).

“We will try and get an away goal which can give us an advantage when we play in the return leg.”

Despite his admiration for the newly-signed foreign duo of Zambian forward Shadreck Mayembe and Cameroonian Albert Eonde, Mapeza left the pair at home citing lack of fitness.

“We have signed two foreign players but in terms of fitness levels I don’t think they are up to the standard where we expect them to be.

“Not that they are bad players, infact they are quality players but they only need some time to get to the required levels,” Mapeza said.

“In terms of how we play I think they have adjusted really well. It’s only the fitness levels, which eludes them for now otherwise they are quality players.”

Mapeza is also hoping his charges will adjust quickly to the humid temperatures currently prevailing in the western coast of the southern Africa State.

“The place looks humid, it’s a bit hot. But I think having two days here will obviously help us acclimatise. It’s the weather and there is very little we can do about the situation, we will only need to adjust quickly,” he said.

FC Platinum, will 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.

The Zvishavane-based side first took part in Africa’s premier inter-club competition in 2012 under their former coach Rahman Gumbo.

The 2018 African Champions League draw was not kind to Mapeza’s charges as they were handed a tricky route to reach the group stages after being paired against tricky Angolan champions Desportivo de Agosto in the preliminary round.

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


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