THE continued suspension of local football might affect FC Platinum’s latest African safari, but the Zvishavane side’s ignominious record in the CAF Champions League mirrors declining standards of the domestic Premiership, especially in the last decade.
FC Platinum were relegated to the CAF Confederation Cup after crashing out of the Champions League at the hands of Simba SC of Tanzania in the first round.
They play ASC Jaraaf of Senegal in the second-tier Confederation Cup play-off second leg tie at Stade Lat Dior this evening, hoping to salvage lost pride.
Kick-off is 6pm.
FC Platinum go into this match on the back of a 0-1 loss at the National Sports Stadium last Sunday and now need to win at all costs in Senegal to book a place in the Confederation Cup group stage.
Today’s match is FC Platinum’s 36th on the continent, having so far played 30 Champions League matches and five Confederation Cup assignments.
They, however, have the humiliating record of being the only Zimbabwean champions who have never won a Champions League group stage match.
Of the 30 Champions League matches they have played since their debut against Swaziland outfit Green Mamba on February 19, 2012, FC Platinum have nine wins, eight draws and, 13 losses.
This translates to a 30 percent pass mark on the African safari for FC Platinum, whose coach Norman Mapeza has promised to “throw everything” into today’s encounter.
“We are aware of the challenge that we are going to face on Sunday (today),” Mapeza said.
“We have to throw everything into this game if we are to get positive results, so we have to be prepared psychologically and we hope everything goes well come Sunday (today).
“We are not going to say much about the team at the moment; about the changes and everything.
Only CAPS United (2017) and FC Platinum (2019 and 2020) have reached the group stage of the Champions League since 2011.
No Zimbabwean team has progressed beyond the group stage since 2008 when Dynamos reached the semi-final under the tutelage of David “Yogi” Mandigora.
DeMbare remain the only team from Zimbabwe to reach the Champions League final, having achieved that feat in 1998, with Owusu being part of the cast that had club legend Memory Mucherahowa as the captain.
Tonight, FC Platinum get a chance to atone for their disappointing run in the Champions League and at least force their way into the Confederation Cup group stage.
But after letting slip a chance to use home advantage, Mapeza and his men will now have to do it the hard way in the unfamiliar conditions of Dakar.