FC Platinum returns to East Africa after progressing to the first round of the CAF Confederation Cup following a 2-1 preliminary stage return leg win over Kenya’s Sofapaka at Mandava yesterday.
BY MUKUDZEI CHINGWERE
Teenage midfielder Wisdom Mutasa grabbed a brace to help the platinum miners seal a 4-2 aggregate victory and set up a first round date with Young Africans of Tanzania.
Young Africans lost 2-1 to Botswana Defence Forces on Friday but still sailed to the next stage with a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.
FC Platinum’s heroics were however, almost dented yesterday when Burundian forward Fiston Razak Abdoul thrust the Kenyans ahead with an early strike.
But Mutasa saved the day for FC Platinum by leading the comeback with a double that included an awe-inspiring powerful shot struck from outside the box.
Norman Mapeza was delighted with his charges and was full of praise for Mutasa.
“Our objective was to keep possession and the guys did very well,” said Mapeza.
“We conceded early but the guys managed to recover and win the match.
“The future is bright for the young man if he keeps his feet on the ground, he has been working very hard and it is good for him,” said Mapeza.
Visiting coach Sam Timbe conceded that he faced a better opponent.
“It was a tough match and FC Platinum are a good side. Both teams wanted to win the match and congratulations to them, I wish them well in the tournament,” said Timbe.
FC Platinum initiated the tempo of the match when Brian Muzondiwa raced clear on the left wing inside the opening minute, but his cross was hauled over by Sofapaka defender Mavriso Onimbo.
Five minutes into the match, the hosts got a scare when danger man Abdoul shrugged of the challenge from Gift Bello and slotted past goalkeeper Petros Mhari.
He was Sofapaka’s scorer again in the first leg in Nairobi.
The miners quickly regrouped and seven minutes later Donald Ngoma missed the target with a powerful strike.
After a quarter of an hour of action, Mutasa took the matter into his own hands when he powered home a thunderous strike outside the box to level the matters.
The miners started pulling the strings in midfield with Mutasa behind the exciting moves.
Half way through the opening stanza, Raphael Mudhuviwa sent an inch perfect cross into the box which was headed over by Ngoma.
Muzondiwa and Elvis Moyo both tested the resolve of Evariste Mutimana in goals for the Kenyan side but were both denied.
Eight minutes after the breather, Mutasa capped a fine afternoon when he completed his brace.
The Young Warriors linkman who was cheered by his father Lloyd from the stands was set through by Muzondiwa.
Eli Sekah had a chance to level the scoreline 10 minutes later, but he wasted the chance.
Four minutes before full-time, Felly Mulumbu knocked his header down but could not beat an alert Mhari.
Zambian forward Obrey Chirwa had the chance to add gloss to the scoreline, but pushed the ball straight into the path of the goalkeeper on the stroke of full-time.