BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC Platinum are looking to maximise on home advantage in a bid to progress to the next stage of the Caf Champions League when they take on GD Sagrada in the second leg of their preliminary round tie at the National Sports Stadium in Harare this afternoon.
The platinum miners want to reach the league stage for the first time after failing on three previous occasions, but their preparations for this year’s edition were hindered by COVID-19 complications.
Zimbabwe has failed to run its domestic league since last year due to COVID-19-induced lockdowns and this has seen FC Platinum plunge into important battles ill-prepared.
They only had three weeks of training, having been idle for two months when they travelled to Angola for the first leg, but managed to force a nil-all draw.
And after such a positive result away from home, they will be looking to finish off their opponents on home turf this afternoon.
Captain Petros Mhari says they are determined to make good use of home advantage to turn the pendulum in their favour and leap into the first round of the 2021/22 edition of the Caf Champions League.
“The lesson we have learnt in this competition is that we have to be disciplined all round,” Mhari said.
“We must avoid conceding goals and we have to look after our goals that we have scored and most importantly when it comes to chances created.
“We should bury them, it is not over until the last whistle. Everyone is going all out on Saturday (today).
“It will be a difficult game, but every one of us is prepared to fight and that is the most important thing.
“They will come at us very strongly and we have to give them a fight. If we fight more than them, we can surely win the game.”
Mhari stressed the need to keep discipline at the back as they search for the goal upfront.
“We need to be solid and disciplined in defence and attack.
“We need to concentrate always and guard against making unnecessary mistakes which can cost us the match”, he added.
The winner of this tie will set a date with either Zesco United of Zambia or Royal Leopards of eSwatini.
The platinum miners will, however, be without defender Kelvin Mangiza who was sent off for accumulating two yellow cards.
Norman Mapeza will be looking up to strikers Donald Ngoma and Rodwell Chinyengetere for goals.
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