FC Platinum, capped off a successful 2018 by claiming a spot in the CAF Champions League group stages. The Zimbabwean outfit emphatically defended their maiden title last year with a handsome gap.
The Zvishavane miners are replicating the same antics in the prestigious CAF Champions League as they saw off CNaPS of Madagascar and got grouped with ES Tunis, Horoya and weekend’s visitors Orlando Pirates also known as the sea robbers.
Earlier on, Pure Platinum Play fans were robbed off an opportunity to host these games at their fancied fortress, Mandava stadium owing to technical incapacities as outlined by CAF. FC Platinum will play home games at Barbourfields stadium in Bulawayo 182 kilometers away from Zvishavane.
The move may slightly benefit the visitors since they have a good following in Zimbabwe’s second largest city as a result of the fact that they also wear black and white with the same crossbones salute on their regalia and club signature on the pitch.
However Warriors cheerleader Chris ‘Romario’ Musekiwa said it was their duty to mobilize fans to come and rally behind Zimbabwean representatives hence a huge crowd is expected to throng the Barbourfields stadium come Saturday.
Orlando pirates are on second position having amassed a satisfying 28 points from the 16 matches played and 5 points short off Bidvest Wits in the ABSA Premiership.
The Soweto giants are making a return to Zimbabwe after 22 years, the last time they went past Caps United 3-1 on aggregate. The Soweto giants are well resourced with the Zambian duo of Augustine Mulenga and Justin Shonga who can make the afternoon terrible for Platinum’s defenders on home soil. The match will also see the return of Marshall Munetsi and the talented Kuda Mahachi and this time playing against fellow countrymen. Mahachi has already warned his teammates on the threat posed by the Norman Mapeza coached side.
The two teams have divergent approaches as the Buccaneers play on the counter attacks whilst Platinum employs a passing game going forward thus making the match more unpredictable. FC Platinum maybe underdogs in this match but the fact that Orlando Pirates have been absentees in the last three years is a confidence booster to the platinum miners.
Furthermore, FC Platinum have an equally impressive squad possessing a steady defensive set up marshaled by Kelvin Moyo, an experienced Zimbabwean centre back who has dealt with high profile strikers such as Cedric Bakambu and Yannick Bolasie on international duty. Upfront, Mapeza banks on the menacing forward Rodwell Chinyengetere, the reigning soccer star of the year. Chinyengetere can win them this encounter when well supplied with scoring opportumities. Orlando Pirates will have to be wary of the threatening Baroka FC bound striker to avoid humiliation.
FC Platinum, with inspiration from Caps United who famously knocked down TP Mazembe in their 2016 campaign and the national team’s success on the African safari can also set the record straight and proceed to the quarter finals. The kickoff is scheduled at the 3pm this Saturday and gate charges are $5 rest of ground, $10 VIP and $20 VVIP. The second leg will be played on 10 march in Pretoria.