Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
ORLANDO Pirates made a psychological and tactical decision to give Warriors winger Kuda Mahachi a starting jersey in the Total Caf Champions League Group B encounter against Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum before a packed Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
The former Chicken Inn and Highlanders dribbling menace has been struggling to make it into the Sea Robbers squad and on the few occasions that he made it he will be coming from the bench.
In their last two matches against Highlands Park and Chippa United at home he rose from the bench to score for Pirates and coach Micho said the consistent performance then warranted that he gets a starting place.
What however further influenced the technical bench to throw him into the starting 11 was to appease the home fans who thronged the match venue since a larger part of the fans were Highlanders supporters with some of them rooting for the visitors.
“It was mixed reasons both psychological and tactical.He has worked very hard especially after the negative aspects of losing his mum and all of us we had to support him, he came back from that unfortunate situation that hit him hard in his life. In the two matches that he came in as a substitute he has really shown that his work rate has earned him to start. All other players have worked hard for him and its a fulfilment of childhood dream for him, unfortunately the few situations that came for him did not result in a goal but he gave a very good account of himself,” said coach Micho in his post match interview.
Mahachi played for 73 minutes before being taken out for Pule in a game that was evenly balanced for the better part of the day with Chicken Inn assistant coach Prince Matore saying individual brilliance from the players was likely going to decide the outcome of the match.
FC Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari was one such player who put up a top drawer show in between the sticks that won him admiration of the visiting coach. Even veteran striker Mkhokheli Dube had an excellent afternoon.
“Their goalkeeper and Dube played very well for FC Platinum,” said Micho whose side takes on Guinea’s Horoya in South Africa on Friday while Pure Platinum play fly out to Tunisia tomorrow for a faceoff against defending champions Esperance also Friday.
“Of course we wanted to win the game but I can’t complain, it was a massive performance from the boys. I am happy with the draw, I am more than happy with the draw. It was a good game of football, I think everybody saw it. We are new to this game, I think we just need to keep working hard. On Tuesday we are leaving for Tunisia. For me as a coach I think it’s a good result we got today, our focus now is on the Esperance game,’’ said FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza.
The group is still evenly balanced after the opening matches after Horoya and Esperance also drew in their opener on Friday.