FC Platinum supremo still hopes to step into knockouts

The Chronicle

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor

FC Platinum are still confident of squeezing their way into the Total Caf Champions League knockout stages despite failing to register a win in the opening two rounds of matches in their Group B campaign.

Pure Platinum Play are bottom of the group with no points after losing the opening fixture 1-2 away to Al Hilal of Sudan and a rather shocking 0-3 home defeat to a not-so-convincing Etoile Du Sahel at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.

They take on eight times African champions Ahl Ahly of Egypt in their next match in two weeks time before the return legs next year.

Club chairman, Evans Mthombeni, told Television Sports Media that despite the setbacks, the club was still within shouting distance of their objective of getting into the knockout stages of the tournament.

“We are still within shout of achieving our reviewed objective of doing better than we did in the last edition of the tournament and possibly qualify for the quarter-finals,” said Mthombeni.

He reiterated what was said by club secretary general Benson Wirimai that they will be making additions to their squad even before the next away match to Ahl Ahly.

“There is not much we can do to increase playing personnel for now but like I said before we have three slots that we can use, we will see how best we can do before the match against Ahl Ahly to try and address one or two areas by utilising those slots. I think the technical team will see to that. There are names that have been thrown around and we are trying to see how best we can to tie those players down,” said Mthombeni.

Usually impeccable sources this week told Chronicle Sport that the Zvishavane-based side have already agreed terms with one of the 2019 Soccer Stars of the Year finalists while negotiations are at an advanced stage with three other players, two of which are teammates at a local Premiership side.

Meanwhile, Mthombeni has also bemoaned Caf’s decision not to homologate their home ground, Mandava Stadium, despite the facility meeting more than 90 percent of requirements for it to play host to international matches.

It is believed the stadia received adverse reports due to the unavailability of floodlights.

“FC Platinum is the only club that is playing away from its conventional home ground. That has an effect. You see Barbourfields is virtually empty because in as much as we can support our fans to come for the matches, it’s not possible for us to get the numbers that will make the right noise, so that one is a challenge in terms of the 12th man. If we were at Mandava Stadium, I think we could be talking differently in terms of these results as we are used to the turf, our fans will also be there in numbers,” said Mthombeni.