Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
FC Platinum are expected in Bulawayo tomorrow ahead of their Group B Caf Champions League mini-group match against Tunisian giants, Étoile du Sahel, at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
The two sides had contrasting fortunes in their opening matches last Friday, with the Tunisians defeating record Caf Champions League winners Ahl Ahly 1-0, while Pure Platinum Play were unfortunate to go down 1-2 to Sudanese side AL Hilal at the intimidating Al Hilal Stadium where over 500 anti-riot police were also in attendance.
The heavy police presence was attributed to the side’s shock defeat to archrivals El Merriek in a league match that triggered crowd trouble, as their fans could not stomach losing to their rivals ahead of the Caf Champions League mini-league opener.
Despite losing their opener, Pure Platinum Play were left convinced that had they converted their chances or even been more alert in defence, the final outcome of the match could have been different.
“I think we should have done better really, especially in terms of our defending. We should have defended better than the way we did. Look, these are big games and if you give such teams chances, they utilise them, no doubt about that, and those two goals were such chances. With the quality of players we have, we ought to have done much better,” said FC Platinum coach Lizwe Sweswe in his post-match analysis.
He expressed confidence that they will do better in this mini-league phase compared to their maiden appearance in which they managed just two points from six matches.
Despite the two goals FC Platinum conceded, the story could have been different had they buried the chances that came their way, especially a first-half headed miss by Tawana Chikore following a sleek move.
Chikore headed his effort over the bar with the goalkeeper completely beaten.
FC Platinum had done well to weather a torrent of attacks from the hosts, who literally camped in the final third inside the first 15 minutes, as they searched for an early goal. However, the three-man defence of the outstanding Gift Bello, Lawrence Mhlanga and William Stima, ably supported by holding midfielder, Kelvin Madzongwe, guarded their territory with aplomb.