Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Barca heroics inspire Mapeza

By Mukudzei Chingwere

FC Platinum are refusing to be drowned in the sorrows of defeat after succumbing to a 0-3 defeat at the hands of Angolan side, Clube Desportivo de Agosto, in the first leg of their preliminary round match in the CAF Champions League.

FC Platinum head coach Norman Mapeza centre addresses a press conference at a local lodge yesterday, flanked by foreign signings Shadreck Mayembe (left) from Zambia Albert Eonde from Cameroon.

Coach Norman Mapeza had set himself a target of reaching, at least, the group stages of the African safari.

Despite the comprehensive defeat here, Mapeza remains inspired by the heroics of FC Barcelona when they overturned 0-4 first leg defeat at the hands of French giants Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League.

“You never know with football, anything can happen, if you remember FC Barcelona lost 4-0 in the first leg and they went on to overturn the result.

“The guys played well, like I said, we just need to work on our mistakes when we get back home and hope for a positive outcome,” said Mapeza.

FC Platinum players are also bullish.

“Chances are high that we can win back home and proceed to the next stage of this competition,’’ captain Petros Mhari said.

“We now know our opponents and we know how they play so we will rectify the mistakes and we just need to play with confidence back home.’’

Striker Mkhokheli Dube said all was not lost.

“They scored three at their home and we can also do the same back home. What affected us were the weather conditions, but back home we do not have those worries.

“We will work on our mistakes and push in the return leg,” said Dube.

Veteran midfielder Ali Sadiki, who has a lot of experience on the continent following his stint with Congolese giants, TP Mazembe, was also confident it can be done.

“They have scored three and we can also do the same back home, we can score three or more, but we just need to be confident in the return leg,” said Sadiki.

FC Platinum said they fulfilled the fixture under protest.

The Angolan Champions did not produce their passports before kick-off and they had to be allowed into the field of play with questionable identification particulars.

Midfielder, Akinfenwa Ibukun, was identified as an Angolan when, in actual fact, he is a Nigerian.

“Yes, we said that (to bring your passports for identification at the stadium),” match commissioner, Mangaliso Jabulani Langwenya, of Swaziland said.

“Write a formal complaint to CAF and attach the pictures of the players. For now play the game.’’

Head of delegation, Nobioth Magwizi, said their opponents went against what they had agreed at the pre-match meeting.

“During our pre-match meeting on Saturday we agreed that all the players bring their passports for identification and FC Platinum brought theirs.

“But on matchday not even a single player for Agosto brought his passport to the game.

“FC Platinum agreed to play the match under protest and the match commissioner advised us to take pictures of all the players and continue with the match, though we made it clear that the game was being played under protest, FC Platinum have submitted their official complaint and I am writing that in my report.

“The problem was that the match was played by people whose identities is not known.

“To justify our complaint is that another player who played the game was identified as an Angolan when in actual fact he is Nigerian.

“There might be something that we are yet to establish that was hidden, but the fact that they played without proper identification is not allowed and impersonation is a serious crime,” said Magwizi. Mapeza said it was the first time for him to see such a thing happening.

“That a player can play an international match without a passport is new to me, a player is supposed to produce his passport for identification. I remember when I used to play for the national team, Shepherd Muradzikwa had travelled with an ETD (Emergency Traveling Document), on match day he produced it for identification and authorities said no and he did not play that game,” said Mapeza. The Herald