FC Platinum lament lost time

26 Jan, 2021 - 00:01 0 Views
FC Platinum lament lost time ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela

The Herald

Eddie Chikamhi

Senior Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE football champions FC Platinum find themselves clutched between a rock and a hard place as they have lost more than a week of preparation time ahead of next month’s CAF Confederation Cup group play-offs.  

The platinum miners are scheduled to face off with Senegalese giants ASC Jaraaf for the ticket to qualify to the group stages of the continent’s second-tier competition. 

The first leg has been set for February 14 at the National Sports Stadium in Harare with the return leg pencilled in for the following week at the multi-purpose Stade Demba Diop in Dakar.  

But with just under three weeks remaining, the Zvishavane side are yet to start preparations because of the coronavirus lockdown measures meant to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

FC Platinum have since applied for exemptions via ZIFA and the Sports Commission. However, they are yet to get the greenlight. Club spokesperson Chido Chizondo yesterday said the platinum miners were supposed to start training on January 18.  

“The team hasn’t started training yet. We have made our application for exemption and we are still waiting for the response from the authorities before we can go ahead with our preparations. 

“We were supposed to start training last Monday. So we can only wait until we get the advice,” said Chizondo. 

All sports activities were suspended under the recent interventions by the Government earlier this month in response to the sharp rise in the national Covid-19 cases.

FC Platinum played their last competitive game on January 6 and have been inactive since then. The side dropped to the second-tier competition after losing 1-4 on aggregate to Simba SC of Tanzania in the first round of the CAF Champions League.  

The platinum miners are hoping to salvage some pride for the nation by going all the way in the Confederation Cup but, with the game just a few weeks remaining, there is still silence in their camp. 

ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, yesterday said the local football motherbody have been in touch with the Sports Commission over FC Platinum’s application.  

“We have sent the application to the Sports Commission and we understand it is still being processed. 

“At the moment they (FC Platinum) cannot start,” said Gwesela.

Sports Commission acting director-general Sebastian Garikai confirmed the authorities are still going through the applications.

“Yes, we have received their application and their papers are currently being processed. 

“So we are waiting for more responses from the stakeholders before we get back to them,” said Garikai. 

However, there are genuine worries about the loss of the momentum they had built in the Champions League qualifying rounds. 

Norman Mapeza’s men were coming from a difficult background since there was no competitive football played in Zimbabwe last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

They played two games against Mozambique’s Costa do Sol and won 4-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round. 

They beat Tanzanian giants Simba SC 1-0 at home in the first round of the first round but imploded in the decisive match which ended in a 4-0 drubbing in Dar es Salaam 

Mapeza revealed he needed more time with his players to regroup themselves and work on their game again. 

This has been a challenging period for the technical department and they have given their players individual training programmes to work on at home. 

This will be the second time that they will participate in the Confederation Cup. 

They featured in the 2015 season but they perished in the first round after losing 2-5 on aggregate to Tanzanian side, Young Africans.

It looks like FC Platinum, who are looking to atone for their agonizing exit from the 2020-21 Champions League, may also not have it easy in the play-offs.  

Their next opponents, ASC Jaraaf, may not be a familiar opposition with Zimbabwean clubs but they are the biggest and most successful team in Senegal with 12 league titles and 15 domestic cups in their trophy cabinet.

Senegal are also ranked first in Africa on the FIFA Coca Cola rankings. 

ASC Jaraaf earned their place in the Confederation Cup group play-offs after beating fellow West Africans FC San Pedro of Ivory Coast on away goals. 

ASC Jaraaf are experienced campaigners as they have represented Senegal in both the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup several times. 

The club has produced Senegalese football legends like Henri Camara and the late Papa Bouba Diop, who have both represented their country at the FIFA World Cup.

Share This:

Sponsored Links