Platinum's last chance . . . Zim champions off to face Guinea's Horoya

Zimbabwe champions FC Platinum fly out to Guinea today with one thing in mind — to get a win against Horoya AC at the Stade du 28 Septembre on Tuesday so as to keep their chances of progressing to the knockout stages of the African Champions League open.

By his own admission, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has said their recent results in the tournament have complicated things for his charges.

In the three matches they have played thus far in Group B, FC Platinum are the only team yet to find the target — something which remains a huge concern for Mapeza.

Pure Platinum Play commenced their Group B campaign with a goalless draw against South African giants Orlando Pirates at home at Barbourfields Stadium.

In their second match, the Zvishavane-based side lost 2-0 away to defending champions Esperance in Tunisia.

The Zimbabwean champions suffered a disappointing 0-1 loss to their Tuesday’s opponents at Barbourfields last Saturday, which weakened their chances of progressing to the next round of the tournament as they now need to win all their remaining matches to progress.

The last time FC Platinum scored was in the final qualifying round when defender William Stima netted with a free kick away to Congolese side AS Otoho in the first leg.     

One of the reasons the platinum miners might be struggling in front of goal might be the departure of their forward player Rodwell Chinyengetere to South Africa’s Baroka FC.

Chinyengetere was the team’s leading scorer last season and also bagged the Castle Lager Premiership Golden Boot together with the Soccer Star of the Year gong.  

The platinum miners must beat Horoya in Conakry if they entertain any hopes of salvaging a chance to progress to the next stage of the tournament.

As things stand, the Zvishavane-based side currently anchor Group B with a single point from three matches.

But should the platinum miners secure a victory in Guinea, it could change the whole complexion of their fate something Mapeza is desperate to achieve.

“All hope is not lost. We can’t say we are out of it already. There is still hope after all. There are still three matches to play and anything is possible,” Mapeza told the Daily News recently.

“We have learnt our lessons and we continue to learn going forward. It’s very possible to go and get a win in Guinea; nothing is impossible. All we need to do is to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes we did in the previous matches.

“It’s not a secret that we put ourselves in a difficult position but giving up at this stage is not an option. We just need to continue believing in ourselves and see what happens at the end.”

The reigning Coach of the Year is hoping his strikers will find their mojo if they are to salvage their Group B campaign.

“You always get worried when the goals are not coming because it’s difficult to win matches when you are not scoring goals,” Mapeza said.

“We are working hard to try and rectify the problem. I hope the boys will find their scoring form starting with our away match against Horoya. The good thing is that the players are eager to do well so we will keep on working hard.”

After their match against Horoya, FC Platinum will then travel to South Africa for a date against Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on March 8 before concluding their group matches with a home tie against Esperance on March 16.

The goalless draw between Pirates and Esperance left the group evenly balanced.

The Sea Robbers are top of the group with five points the same number as second-placed Esperance who have an inferior goal difference while Horoya are now third with four points.

FC Platinum will welcome back defender Elvis Moyo for the trip to Guinea after missing their last match through suspension but strikers Gift Mbweti and Thomas Chideu will miss the trip through suspension.

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