FCP fall in the land of the Pharaohs
Sikhumbuzo Moyo in CAIRO, Egypt
IN Hwange there is a popular saying in the Nyanja language which says “bhora nikushosha”, translated to mean football is all about scoring because if you do not, you are most certainly not going to win and likely to lose.
It’s becoming a frustratingly familiar template for FC Platinum in this Total CAF Champions League football campaign after they lost their third match on the trot, going down 2-0 to Egyptian giants Al Ahly at the Al Salam Stadium on a bitingly cold Saturday night despite enjoying far better ball possession, especially in the first-half that also saw a section of the home team supporters walking out of the stadium in frustration as they feared that they could witness an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the three times in a row Zimbabwean champions.
Like in their previous two matches against Al Hilal of Sudan and Etoile Du Sahel of Tunisia, they were again punished for failing to transform their dominance into goals and possibly maiden mini-league phase win.
The hosts, who started the match in terrific form, went ahead as early as the eighth minute through a Walid Ebeid that beat a diving Wallace Magalane all systems out.
Ebeid completed his brace albeit in controversial way in the 67th minute after converting a spot-kick that was shockingly awarded by Burundian referee Georges Gatogato who had adjudged that FC Platinum captain and defender Gift Bello had illegally dispossessed Ahmed Youssef inside the box, resulting in the player sprawling on the ground.
The penalty goal somehow surped some energy from the FC Platinum players because it came at a crucial time where they were clearly hunting for an equaliser which, however, ought to have come even in the first half.
When you are on the ascendency and clearly aware that you have turned your opponents’ supporters into mere spectators, it’s expected that you successfully execute your mission and Pure Platinum Play seemed to be well on course to achieving that until the unexpected turn of events.
The telepathic understanding between the evergreen Never Tigere and Rodwell Chinyengetere was a marvel to watch while Democratic Republic of Congo import Guyv Nsiala was a handful on the left wing.
Midfield enforcer Kelvin Madzongwe covered every blade of grass with the tried and trusted Devon Chafa taking care of matters in the defensive midfield area while Bello, William Stima, Tawana Chikore and Raphael Muduviwa were not taking any prisoners and all this was happening despite the fact that the home side were already a goal up.
They had taken their chance and left Magalane diving in vain but on the few occasions that they got other chances, the former Plumtree High School pupil was unyielding.
“It was a difficult match for us,” conceded Al Ahly coach Rene Weiler. “However our objective was to win and we achieved that.” For Lizwe Sweswe, the FC Platinum coach, it was the same old story albeit on different territory.
“It was a good match, we fought hard and the boys gave it their all but sadly it wasn’t to be for us, we leave to fight another battle,” he said.
For a side that lost a number of first team players who were also never replaced to stand their ground against an opponent such as Al Ahly surely needs to be commended and coach Sweswe and his backroom staff saluted. Even on the domestic scene, no one had given them a chance, moreso after the unexpected departure of coach Norman Mapeza but Sweswe refused to be counted out.
Meanwhile, FC Platinum will resume preparations for the Al Ahly return leg and the 2020 Premiership season on January 4.
Al Ahly: Mohamed Elshenawy, Qualid Azaro, Walid Ebeid, Ayman Elsayed, Alio Dieng, Amro Elsoulia, Saadeldin Ali (Ramy Moustafa 16thmin), Ali Maaloul, Ahmed Youssef, Ahmed Fathi, Oluwafemi Ajayi (Hussein Hassan 21st min)
FC Platinum: Wallace Magalane, Raphael Muduviwa, Gift Bello, William Stima, Kelvin Madzongwe, Devon Chafa, Never Tigere, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Guyv Nsiala, Albert Eonde (Gift Mbweti 77th min)