By Mehluli Sibanda
Former Highlanders goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini has backed FC Platinum to overcome Orlando Pirates in a Caf Champions League group stage match at Orlando Stadium this evening.
Kapini, who now is turns out for Highlands Park in the Absa Premiership, feels there is no reason for his countrymen not to overcome Pirates because they have shown the hunger to deliver in the four matches they’ve played in the group stage of the Champions League so far.
Looking at the way they played against the Buccaneers in the first meeting that ended in a goalless draw at Barbourfields Stadium, Kapini is convinced Pure Platinum Play can walk away with three points from Soweto.
“These boys have shown some hunger; they know what they want and I think if they perform very well like what they did in the first-leg they can come out with three points. All they need to do is go out there and play with confidence,” Kapini said.
Kapini is of the view that FC Platinum are a balanced side and coach Norman Mapeza, who has played in the Uefa Champions League, has an appreciation of what is stake in the clash against Pirates.
“If I look at the individual play of FC Platinum, they are a good side. They have a good coach as well who played in the (Uefa) Champions League, so I think he knows what this game means to them so it’s all up to the players,” said Kapini.
His advised the players to guard against complacency, as a win for them can shake up the group.
“It’s all up to the players to go out on Friday and enjoy themselves. The advice I can give them is they mustn’t be complacent. They need to go there knowing that this game can change things if they win. If they win against Pirates they go to four points and win the last one they go to seven points, so I think they need to take this game seriously,” he said.
Kapini said they should also not let Pirates get into the game because if they do that they will be in danger.
“They mustn’t let Pirates come into the game because when Pirates come into the game it’s not going to be easy for them. They must watch the midfield of Pirates, they are good. If you watch Thembinkosi Lorch and Musa Nyatama, they have been playing well so I think they will have a plan for them. If they have a plan for them I think they will come out with the points.”
He expects veteran striker Mkhokheli Dube, his former teammate at Highlanders and AmaZulu, and Ali Sadiki, who happens to be his young brother, to play a huge part tonight due to their experience.
“Mkhokheli Dube is going to play a big role. He played here when we played against Pirates so he knows what Pirates are capable of. It’s all up to these players to gel tomorrow (today). They mustn’t be scared; it’s football, the moment you are scared to play football, you are no longer going to enjoy your game.”
Kapini attended FC Platinum’s evening training session at Greek Sporting Club in Bedfordview and confirmed that he will be there to back the Zimbabwean champions when they square off against Orlando Pirates in Soweto tonight.
Besides Dube and Sadiki, Mapeza will look to skipper Petros Mhari as well as Kelvin Madzongwe to contain the marauding Sea Robbers.
Dube, Sadiki and Thomas Chideu are the goal scoring options for FC Platinum, who are without Albert Eonde after he failed to get a visa to travel to South Africa, while Lameck Nhamo has also been ruled out by injury.
FC Platinum are at the bottom of the four-team group with just a point secured from a 0-0 stalemate with Pirates. Since then, they have lost twice to Horoya and once to defending champions Esperance without scoring. The Chronicle
FC Platinum squad
Petros Mhari(captain), Francis Tizayi, Gift Bello, Kevin Moyo, William Stima, Elvis Moyo, Raphael Muduviwa, Godknows Murwira, Devon Chafa, Farai Madhanaga, Rainsome Pavari, Kelvin Madzongwe, Never Tigere, Ali Sadiki, Rahman Kutsanzira, Perfect Chikwende, Mkhokheli Dube, Lameck Nhamo, Thomas Chideu