BY HENRY MHARA IN BLANTYRE, MALAWI
Nyasa Big Bullets (0) 0
FC Platinum ……………… (0)0
FC PLATINUM produced a professional performance to hold Malawian side Nyasa Big Bullets in a Caf Champions League preliminary round first leg match at the Kamuzu Stadium here yesterday, a result that satisfied the visitors’ coach Norman Mapeza, who believes his side is 60% into the next round.
The Zvishavane-based side will be hoping to finish off the job in the reverse fixture set for Barbourfields Stadium in a fortnight.
The Zimbabwean league champions were forced to make three last-minute alterations to the line-up after new players including the returning Rodwell Chinyengetere, Evidence Tendayi and Tawana Chikore failed to get their clearance papers in time to feature in the match.
Mapeza felt the trio’s absence disrupted his game plan.
“After hearing the news that three of our guys are not registered and were not going to take part in this match, what do you expect? It’s a fantastic result, but of course we would have wanted to win the match but I’m happy with a draw. The guys worked so hard and will need to continue working hard and see what happens in two weeks’ time. We will need to work hard and try to get a result at Barbourfields,” Mapeza said.
Asked if the goalless draw gives his side an advantage, Mapeza responded, “Somehow yes, I will take it as my side has a 60% chance because the opponent couldn’t maximise on their home advantage. We would have an advantage now because we would be playing the next match at home.”
Nyasa Big Bullets coach Kalisto Pasuwa was also complimentary of his players, and also rates high their chance of progressing to the next round.
“It was a very tactical game where we were playing a very experienced side, but I feel my boys did well in terms of keeping positions. It is in the attacking phase that we were lacking. We want to do more in terms of attacking because the opponents were having numbers in their defending with nine players behind the ball,” Pasuwa said.
In a game of wits between two of Zimbabwe’s finest coaches, it was Pasuwa’s men who looked the more adventurous while Mapeza’s boys were content to let the opponent have the ball but suffocating them whenever they got into dangerous areas.
FC Platinum were so good and efficient in their defensive display that they only restricted the hosts to potshots in the first half.
It was actually the visitors who created the better chances in the first half, two of them wasted by Albert Eonde while Never Tigere also blasted his effort over.
FC Platinum goalkeeper Wallace Magalane had to wait until 57 minutes to pull a meaningful save when he blocked a shot.
Then with four minutes to go, Bright Mthale thundered his shot onto the upright for Bullets as FC Platinum survived the late onslaught by the home side.
Nyasa Big Bullets: E Kakhobwe, G Chirwa, N Nyasulu, C Petro, P Sambani, C Kayira, C Idana, M Mkwate (B Mthale, 58′), P Banda, H Kajoke (P Phiri, 80′), C Msowoya
FC Platinum: W Magalane, R Mudhuviwa, W Stima, K Madzongwe, R Pavari, D Chafa (H Magaya, 90′), N Tigere, G Mbweti, R Kutsanzira, L Nhamo (M Dube, 60′) A Eonde