Zimbabwean football champions FC Platinum face a near impossible task of overturning a three-goal deficit to go past the preliminary stage of the Total Caf Champions League when they host Clube’ Desportivo Lero Agosto of Angola in Zvishavane on Wednesday.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE/ TERRY MADYAUTA
Norman Mapeza’s charges need to score three goals without reply to take the match into a penalty shootout or a win by at least a four-goal margin.
However, the Zvishavane-based side is not known for proficiency in front of goal and have not scored four goals in a competitive match since their 4-1 league win over Buffaloes in June 2015, stretching back 81 matches.
They have scored three goals in a match 11 times since June 2015 and now need some sort of a miracle to score four without reply, more so past disciplined and technically superior opponents.
Mapeza has had to rely mostly on defensive discipline, but he will have to come up with an offensive strategy to win against the Angolans.
Yet, he remains defiant.
“We will go home and correct the mistakes we made in Luanda. We will psyche up the players. You never know in football,” he said after last week’s defeat
“Barcelona were beaten 4-0 by PSG, but they went on to win 6-1 at the Nou Camp to advance. That is what the game of football is all about.”
During the build-up to the Champions League, Mapeza felt he had addressed their goal-scoring woes when he signed two highly-rated foreign strikers — Cameroonian Albert Eyonde and Zambian Shadreck Mayembe.
Surprisingly, he left the duo behind when FC Platinum travelled to Angola last week, striking a big blow to his usual impotent strike-force spearheaded by the likes of Rodwell Chinyengetere and ageing Mkhokeli Dube
Before the clash against Clube’ Desportivo Lero Agosto, FC Platinum played three international friendlies against Zanaco, Ferroviaro de Beira and Nkana Red Devils in which they only managed to score once.
The platinum miners conceded seven goals and scored once in the four international games underlining their scoring challenges.
Last season FC Platinum won the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League after managing to score 40 times in 34 games while runners-up Dynamos scored 54 goals.
Meanwhile, Clube’ Desportivo Agosto have been in the country since Thursday and will be looking to defend their healthy lead from the first leg.
They have been working on physical exercises, technical and tactical schemes of the game as well as the psychological disposition of the team in Harare, under the watchful eye of coaches Zoran MaKi, Ivo Traça and Filipe Nzanza.
The Angolans were scheduled to travel to Zvishavane yesterday.