FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza is seeking an improvement from his charges in front of goal when the Zimbabwean champions tussle with cup holders Esperance in the Group B Confederation of African Football Champions League tie in Tunisia today.
The Zvishavane-based side shared the spoils in a goalless draw with Orlando Pirates on Saturday leaving the group wide open after Esperance played out a one-all draw with Horoya FC.
The Esperance-FC Platinum match will be played in an empty stadium as punishment for the behaviour of the Champions League holders’ fans in previous ties at home.
The match has been moved from 8pm Zimbabwean time to 3pm.
“We played well in our last game but the team was not as creative in the front. I am sure we will improve when we play Esperance,” Mapeza said.
Mapeza said they would have wanted to play in a stadium with supporters. “Any football player understands what it means to play in a stadium full of fans. This match will be more like a training session but we are ready for the challenge we are facing,” he said.
Tunisia has not been a favourable hunting ground for Zimbabwe football teams with Dynamos and Highlanders having suffered defeat to Esperance in the same competition years back. Will FC Platinum break that jinx?
Banking on the experience of players like Mukokheli Dube, Devon Chafa, Petros Mhari, Ali Sadiki and Lameck Nhamo, the Norman Mapeza charges are looking forward to getting a positive result.
Though the team managed to defend and display some good passing football, it has failed to produce goals upfront, with Mapeza conceding that his team is not creative in front of goals. The players are optimistic that they will sail through to the knock out stages of the competition.
Two teams from the group will sail through to the knock out stage.
“The boys are ready for the challenge that lies ahead of them and they are prepared for it. They are also getting the experience which is good for their careers,” Mapeza said