Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reporter
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has pleaded for patience with his side as they gradually settle to the demands of the Champions League which is also often characterised by complicated travelling around the continent.
The Premiership kings edged past CNaPS of Madagascar on a 2-1 aggregate win with Rodwell Chinyengetere’s goal deciding the tie on Wednesday at Mandava.
CNaPS had restricted FC Platinum to a 1-1 draw in the preliminary round, first leg encounter in Antananarivo.
FC Platinum will be fancying their chances of reaching the group stage this year, but they must now clear the hurdle presented by tournament debutants and 2018 Congolese champions, Association Sportive Otoho in the first round.
Mapeza’s men have an initial target of reaching the group stage.
But the former Warriors coach knows that despite being the dominant force in domestic football in the last two years, it is a different ball game on the continent.
Mapeza urged for patience with his men whom he believes still have a lot to learn regarding the demands of the African Safari.
“It is unfortunate this is my second time in the champions’ league as a coach so for people to say we failed (in the previous competitions), I do not think it is fair to us.
“We are still a young club, Dynamos started to play in the champions league in 1981 and only reached the final in 1998, we are still a young club we are only seven-years-old.
“We are still learning we need experience, even if we go to the next round and do not do well we are still learning, the boys are learning we need time.
“This is different level of football . . . the boys need to get experience, I also need to get experience (and) everybody at this club need to get the experience, we are still learning,” he insisted.
“How many guys do we have playing for the national team now? None. Under 23s? None. These guys need experience and I also need that experience,” said Mapeza.
Mapeza believes his Zimbabwe champions would have to take it on a step by step basis as they bid to reach the group stage which normally has the African club heavyweights such as Al Ahly of Egypt, Tunisia’s Esperance, TP Mazembe from DRC and South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns.
The miners will also hope that some of the experience gained by such players like Kevin Moyo, Devon Chafa and Mkhokeli Dube could help them in their quest for African success.