Mapeza goes for all-out win

HARARE - FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza is fully aware of the need for his side to progress to the final qualifying round of the African Champions League against Malagasy side CNaPS Sport.

The Zvishavane-based side host the Malagasy champions at Mandava Stadium tomorrow in the second of the preliminary round qualifier.

Pure Platinum Play travelled to Antananarivo last week where they emerged with a crucial 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Vontovorona Stadium.

The home side took the lead from the penalty spot in the first half but the Zimbabwean champions rallied back to equalise in the second period through midfielder Farai Madhananga.

With the tie still evenly balanced, FC Platinum do have a slight advantage because of the away goal they scored in Antananarivo.

A goalless draw at Mandava tomorrow will be enough to send Pure Platinum Play into the final qualifying round on the away goals rule.

However, Mapeza does not want to take any chances and has urged his side to go out and seek the win that will see them guarantee their progress.

“But everybody knows that we managed to get a positive result and it’s very important; there’s no two ways about it, we need to wrap up the game here,” Mapeza told the Daily News after his side’s win over Triangle United in the Castle Challenge Cup at Mandava on Sunday. 

“Look, the advantage will be with us because if the game finishes 0-0, we are through but it will be better for us to get the goals.

Let’s get those early goals and we manage the game.”

Before the first leg last week, Mapeza was concerned with the state of the Vontovorona artificial turf which he felt would give CNaPS an advantage.

However, he was pleased with how his side managed to navigate through the synthetic playing surface before going onto score what could prove to be a crucial away goal.  
“They (CNaPS) are a very good team. From the way they were plying, you could tell that they have mastered playing on the artificial turf,” Mapeza said.

“I don’t know much about them when playing on grass but there, they really showed that they know how to play on artificial turf.”

FC Platinum are desperate to get past CNaPS and reach the final qualifying round where they will meet Angolan giants Primeiro de Agosto or Congolese outfit Sportive Otoho.

The first leg between the two sides in Luanda last week finished 4-2 in Primeiro de Agosto’s favour.  

Mapeza also spoke about the issue surrounding Triangle forward Lameck Nhamo, who is one of their transfer targets.

Pure Platinum Play registered Nhamo, who was named among the 11 Soccer Stars of the Year last week, on their African Champions League squad.

But they are yet to agree on a fee with Triangle which has seen Nhamo stay with the Lowveld side and is yet to join up with FC Platinum.

“The challenge we have with Lameck from what I understand is that Triangle didn’t want him to come here,” Mapeza said.

“I’m sure if he had stayed behind here (after the Castle Challenge Cup), I’m not sure yet but if he is around, we will see how he trains with the other guys; if we feel there is need to use him, then yeah.”

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