By Collin Matiza
Former Warriors left-back Charles Yohane believes this Saturday’s CAF Champions League showdown between FC Platinum and Orlando Pirates at Barbourfields will be a serious test of character for the hosts.
Thousands of Orlando Pirates fans are also expected to make their way across the Limpopo River to watch this tie.
Yohane, who played for CAPS United before he moved to South Africa to join Bidvest Wits in 1997, predicts a humdinger which could go either way.
Speaking exclusively to The Herald from his base in Johannesburg, South Africa, Yohane (45) said:
“I foresee an exciting match. FC Platinum have been doing well over the years in Zimbabwe. Now this will be a good test of character (for them) considering they are playing one of the top clubs in South Africa.
“Pirates are doing very well at the moment. They are playing an exciting brand of football. Their technical team has assembled a very good team capable of beating any team in Africa on their day. They are playing the blend of football the fans love to watch.
“They believe attack after attack is the best way of defending which makes them a dangerous team when in possession. They have the quality players that suits well in their style of play. They are quick, skilful and technically very good.”
But Yohane believes if FC Platinum can absorb the pressure in the opening minutes and gradually apply themselves, he was sure “we will have an exciting game to watch”.
“Orlando Pirates’ strongest points are their midfield and the front three. They also attack with both full-backs when they go forward to outnumber and counter oppositions of which I think the weakest point is their back four plus the goalkeeper.
“They play counter-attack after counter-attack, especially in the early stages of the game.
“I don’t know much about FC Platinum players but I believe in Zimbabwean players. I think they will be able to stand their ground against Pirates. The disadvantages might be that the league in South Africa is halfway through while in Zimbabwe it’s off-season.
“I know South Africans respect Zimbabwean players, so, I’m sure Pirates are going to approach this game with caution . . . I think the match will end in a draw,” Yohane predicted.
Yohane starred for the Warriors at the two AFCON finals they first qualified for in 2004 and 2006.
He was part of the trailblazing CAPS United side of 1996 which scooped all but one of the trophies on offer in Zimbabwe, including the league title, under coach Steve “The Dude” Kwashi.
He rubbed shoulders with fellow stars like Stewart “Shutto” Murisa, Alois Bunjira, Joe “Kode” Mugabe, Farayi Mbidzo, Morgan Nkathazo and the late Cheche Billiat.
Silver “Bhonzo” Chigwenje was the team captain.
Yohane left CAPS United around 1996 to join South Africa’s Amazulu after they had watched him playing for the national team.
He was forced to leave Zimbabwe because South Africa had just launched the lucrative Premier Soccer League which saw them changing their football season to run from August to May.
He then moved from Amazulu to Wits in 1997 following a change in the team’s management and that time only three foreigners were allowed to be on the field of play at a time in South Africa.
Murisa and another Zimbabwean player Elasto Lungu Kapowezha were also signed by Amazulu and the team also had the late former Warriors and Dynamos stalwart centre-back Francis Shonhayi.
Concerned of being benched because of the foreign quota system, Yohane decided to leave Amazulu and join Wits.
He played for Wits until 2006, making it 10 seasons in the colours of the Johannesburg side.
He also had a stint with FC AK in the South African First Division but he was recalled by the former club to start a new career of coaching as a player-coach for the reserve side, just to guide the young players eyed for promotion into the first team.
That was in 2008 and to date he has been attached to Bidvest Wits as a development coach in different age-groups.
Last year he was also coaching a new private academy in the Sandton area of Johannesburg although he is still under Bidvest Wits. Yohane also captained Wits from 2002 to 2006, a period which he said was the highlight of his illustrious football career. The Herald