By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza says his boys are mentally ready for this afternoon’s Total Caf Champions League first round second-leg encounter against Tanzania’s Simba SC at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.
Kick off is 4pm Zimbabwean time.
The experienced gaffer is also fully aware that they will be fighting two obstacles, the fans as well as their opponents on the pitch.
Caf allowed the hosts to let in 30 000 fans to watch the match from the terraces.
Pure Platinum Play carry a slender 1-0 lead from the first-leg encounter and need to avoid defeat for them to progress to the group stages of the tournament, in what will be a first by any Zimbabwean team to make three back-to-back qualification to the group stages of the tournament.
For a team that was established as late as 1995, such a feat is a huge stride in their life chapter.
Speaking to Chronicle Sport from Dar es Salaam, Mapeza said discipline and proper organisation in all departments was critical in their thrust to make another appearance in the mini-league phase.
“It’s all about mental strength, we need to be very organised and disciplined. I believe they will come at us; remember they are playing in front of their fans so we need to manage both situations, that is the fans and Simba at the same time.
Everything though is looking good for us since our arrival here, the guys are looking great and ready for the game.
“We just have to put everything into this match, we are 90 minutes away from the group stages of the tournament, so it’s all about fighting spirit, confidence and belief. It’s my hope that people back home will be with us in spirit since this is a national cause,” said Mapeza.
The hosts have been making a lot of noise in the media, with their Belgian coach Sven Ludwig Vandenbroeck even declaring that FC Platinum were not a threat at all to his team.
They are, however, under enormous pressure to do well which might be too much for the players.
In the domestic league, they are trailing their biggest rivals Young Africans and winning the league title this season will not be easy.
The draw for the mini-league takes place on January 17 with matches getting underway on February 12. The Chronicle