Mapeza hopeful

HARARE - FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza has put up a brave face declaring his side is still far from being out of the Caf Champions League despite suffering a 0-3 away defeat at the hands of Angolan champions Premeiro Desportivo Agosto.

Premeiro Desportivo Agosto took a giant leap towards the mini-league phase after pumping three goals past Wallace Magalane in their African Champions League first leg of the preliminary round clash at the Stadia 11 November in Luanda on Sunday.

Goals by Kipe Mongo Bukamba and a Jacques Bakula Bitumba double left the reigning Zimbabwean champions with a mammoth task of scoring four unreplied goals at Mandava Stadium this weekend to progress to the next round.

However, Mapeza said while it appears a mammoth task to overturn the deficit he was “neither disappointed nor furious” about his charges.

The reigning Coach of the Year lamented some individual errors but is not throwing in the towel yet.  Asked what he had told the players after the game, he said: “I told them to rest, recover and forget about this game. Football is amazing because anything can happen.”

“We made some individual errors which I think we could have avoided especially at this level of competition,” Mapeza toold the Daily News.

“We allowed them to get an early goal inside 10 minutes as well as soon after the break and it affected our game plan. Before the game we had spoken about the need to stay focused especially in the early stages of the game.

“It’s difficult yes, impossible maybe, but it’s football so we will give every drop of sweat to make it happen. I have not given up hope. The wonderful thing about football is that anything can happen.”

Mapeza continued: “We only need to work hard and believe in ourselves that we can do it. We have no option for now; we will have to risk everything in the return leg to ensure we get the result we want.”

FC Platinum know too well that they would have made their lives easier if they had managed to score at least an away goal but it is now the Angolans who carry a  healthy three-goal advantage going into the return leg.

To them, this tie is theirs to lose.

The home side settled their nerves with an early goal in the first half before firing in two quick goals after the break to kill the match as a contest and carry a healthy lead ahead of the second leg.

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