Micho respects Mapeza

HARARE - Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic has tonnes of respect for FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza as the two teams are set to go head-to-head in the African Champions League in two weeks’ time.

The two Southern African teams were all drawn in a competitive Group B which also features defending African champions Esperance of Tunisia and Horoya AC of Guinea.

This is the first time Pure Platinum Play will be taking part in the group stages of the competition after two previous failed attempts.

FC Platinum reached the group stages after getting part CNaPS Sport of Madagascar in the preliminary round and Congo’s AS Otoho in the final qualifying round.

The Zvishavane-based side kick off their campaign by hosting the Sea Robbers at Mandava Stadium on January 11 and Micho believes it will not be an easy game for his side.        

“They (FC Platinum) are the debutants in the group stages and they are not attractive by name, but their coach…Mapeza has done extremely well to guide them to the championship in Zimbabwe,” Mich told Soccer Laduma.

“This is a team with an incredible amount of motivation, one that will give us a hard time because we are neighbours.

“One of the biggest problems with facing them is logistics. They are in the middle of Harare and Bulawayo, so reaching there won’t be easy. Our first match is away to them.”

The Serbian coach, who returned to Mayfair for his second spell last year, also opined on the other two in the group — Esperance and Horoya.

“I believe the groups are balanced. In our group we have Esperance as the defending champions and we need to see how they will react after winning the title and playing in the Fifa Club World Cup. We need to see how they will go back to the drawing board,” he said about the Blood and Gold.

“On the other side we have Horoya, who reached the quarter-finals the last time. They have strengthened the team visibly in order to go a step further, and that is why they were in Pot 2 as a seeded team.

“Very good team and practically the best in the areas surrounding Guinea — so many good players there from other countries. They should be a very tough nut to crack.”      


 

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