Pure Platinum Play simply outplayed

ZVISHAVANE - FC Platinum appeared to have every ammunition to do well on their continental sojourn — an experienced coach, excellent training facilities and money to buy the best talent on the land.

Their preparations appeared spot on — they sought duels with international opponents where their frailties were exposed embarrassingly.

After the warm-up games they did not seem to have learnt enough going into their games with Premeiro Desportivo Agosto who dumped them out of the Caf Champions League in the first round with a 5-1 aggregated thrashing.

They were undone by a basic footballing team strong from attack to defence.

And this is not withstanding their inability to score in spite of creating glorious chances. This is where they lost the plot.

Pure Platinum Play gaffer Norman Mapeza even acknowledged this embarrassing frailty in the post-match interview.

They conceded both goals on the break with the entire team disoriented by dispossession and back peddling while their defensive formation was suspiciously in disarray.

Although the early goal they had sought had not materialised, FC Platinum were still in with a chance if only they were to maintain the kind of disciplined performance that had kept their visitors at bay for over 50 minutes.

But they lost possession in the middle of the park in the 52nd minute and Bokampo scored and punished them for failing to quickly close them down.

From then on it was now as much a mind game as it was a technical football contest.

Mapeza’s charges now needed to score five times to go through and it was never going to be easy to be clinical with so much nerve.

Agosto had given away 50 replica jerseys to local football fans and paid their entry so they could cheer them on and extinguish choruses from the small mining town that worships football.

FC Platinum, however, kept pushing and were rewarded when Rodrick Chinyengetere restored parity in the 64th minute.

But time was fast running out for the hosts as they battled in the water logged pitch.

The Zvishavane-based side had completely failed to place their opponents under any form of pressure to make them jittery or disorient their approach to the game.

They were the subjects and were being played.

The script for the great comeback that saw FC Barcelona drill six goal past Paris Saint Germaine in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League could only be achieved if a team’s strength is balanced, whether it has the ball or not.

It would also require placing the other team under pressure substantial enough for them to believe they can be beaten.

It would require getting into the heads of the opponents and make them doubt their tactics and beliefs in holding out for a win.

Nothing came near to that from FC Platinum. They are not in that league yet.

They were to be hit again on the break in the 94th minute. Jacques, the reverse fixture’s two-goal hero, doing the damage.

The loss was an expensive lesson.

The big one being that FC Platinum needs to continue working on themselves to compete on the big stage.

And they could find it difficult to bully local league teams as they try to retain the league title this year!

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