ZIMBABWE’S representatives in the Caf Confederation Cup FC Platinum would make a second trip to East Africa next month as they are likely to face Young Africans of Tanzania in the second round of the 2015 competition.
Platinum beat Kenya’s Sofapaka 2-1 at the Nyayo Stadium on Sunday and are set to finish off the church team in the return leg on February 28 at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane. Brian Muzondiwa and Donald Ngoma scored the crucial goals for Platinum.
Young Africans took a 2-0 lead against Botswana Defence Forces X1 in the first leg on Saturday and are on course to reach the next stage.
Young Africans got their goals courtesy of Amisisi Tambwe’s brace, and the two sides will meet for a second leg on February 27 at Lobatse Sports Complex.
Young Africans is one of the oldest football teams in East Africa having been established in 1935. The club has won the Tanzania Premier League 24 times, Tanzania Cup four times and Cecafa Cup five times.
Their home games are played at the 60 000-seater Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium. They are one of the two biggest teams in Tanzanian football, their archrivals being Simba. Both teams are based in Dar es Salaam. The team’s colours are yellow, green and black.
Shabani Nonda is the most notable player to have played for the club. He had a stint with Yanga in the middle of the 1990s before heading to Vaal Professionals based in South Africa and eventually Monaco in France.
Basically, this means Norman Mapeza’s men will need not worry about acclimatisation since the weather patterns are similar.
But he has to worry about the fans.
While Nyayo Stadium was basically empty, Young Africans attract no less than 30 000 fans at their home games, making any visitor feel intimidated.
Meanwhile, FC Platinum has paid tribute to the fans that watched their match in Nairobi on Sunday.
In a statement yesterday, FC Platinum said: “A big thank you to the Zimbabweans based in Kenya who came in their numbers through the invitation from the Foreign Affairs ministry. We were deeply humbled by the support shown to the team. Thank you again.”
Club president George Mawere, chairman Dumisani Sisale, secretary-general Benson Wirimai, treasurer Petros Ngorima, media liaison officer Chido Chizondo and Bulawayo businessman Worth Mugabe all travelled with the team.
Sofapaka coach Sam Timbe told kplchat yesterday that they could still overturn the deficit.
“Our biggest undoing was that we did not convert our chances while opponents scored from the few chances they got,” the experienced tactician said.
“But all is not lost. In my life as a coach I once witnessed Simba SC get walloped 0-6 at home by a Zambian team, but they still went ahead and beat the team by the same goal margin in Zambia and they proceeded to the next stage.
“I believe we can beat Platinum at their backyard if we prepare well and take our chances,” he added.