FC Platinum endure taxing journey to Guinea

CONAKRY – FC Platinum know they have to be at their maximum best if they are to entertain any hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the African Champions League, especially after enduring a taxing journey to face Horoya AC here in Conakry, Guinea.

The Zimbabwe champions have had to endure an odious journey before finally landing here last night ahead of tomorrow’s do-or-die match against the hosts at the Stade 28 Septembre.

In order to get here, Pure Platinum Play had to endure a punishing journey which began on Saturday morning.

FC Platinum left their base in Zvishavane on Saturday morning before making a five-hour long trip to the capital to catch their midday day flight at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport en-route to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Pure Platinum Play had to make do with a four-hour long flight to the Ethiopian capital landing in East Africa around 8pm Zimbabwean time.

Norman Mapeza and his troops had to endure a night stop-over in Addis Ababa as there was no connecting flight to Conakry.

The situation was made worse by the tedious immigration formalities that took at least three hours at Bole International Airport.

The defending league champions, however, left the Ethiopian capital yesterday morning to catch their eight-hour flight to Guinea via Abidjan, Ivory Coast, touching down in Conkary just before 7pm last night.

This means the whole of yesterday was lost in travelling alone but such is the determination within the Zvishavane-based platinum miners’ camp that late last night they were contemplating holding a loosening up exercise.

Travelling on the continent is always a complicated affair due to the fact there are not many direct flights between cities.

If there was a direct flight between Harare and Conakry, probably FC Platinum would have needed a little bit over seven hours to get to the Guinea capital.

At the moment, the Zimbabwean champions anchor Group B with a single point from three games.

Pure Platinum Play began their campaign with a goalless draw against South African Giants Orlando Pirates at Barbourfields Stadium last month.

In their second match, Mapeza’s men were defeated 2-0 by defending champions Esperance in Tunis, Tunisia.

Many local fans had hoped that Pure Platinum Play would bounce back when they hosted Horoya at Barbourfields at the start of this month.

The Zimbabwean champions were, however, undone by a second half penalty scored by Marius Assoko to hand the visitors a vital  0-1 win.

As things stand, Pirates lead the group with five points while Esperance sit in second place only behind on goal difference.

Horoya are third in the pool with four points and another defeat for FC Platinum today would spell the end of their chances of reaching the last eight of Africa’s premier inter-club competition.

After tomorrow’s match, Pure Platinum Play will only be left with two games against Orlando Pirates (away) and Esperance (home).

Meanwhile, Horoya are not leaving anything to chance in their quest to win tomorrow’s match after coach Patrick Neveu organised a 72-hour training camp for his squad at their Kikimbo training base.

Since Saturday, Neveu and his squad of 22 players he has summoned for tomorrow’s clash have been training and staying at Kikimbo.

Another win tomorrow would take the Matamkas to seven points and with two games to go, they would be in a good position to reach the quarter-finals.

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