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CAF Champions League: Majestic FC Platinum Advance to the Group Stages

Zimbabwe champions FC Platinum made it to the group stages of the CAF Champions League despite being held to a barren stalemate by AS Otoho of Congo.

Zimbabwe champions FC Platinum made it to the group stages of the CAF Champions League on Sunday night despite being held to a barren stalemate by visiting AS Otoho of Congo at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.

The Platinum Miners made up previous years misses to proceed on the away goal rule after tallying 1-1 aggregate draw over two legs and now await Friday’s draw to ascertain the identity of their mini-league opponents.

The club is entitled to a $550,000 cash reward from CAF for reaching the group stage of the competition.

It was history made by  Norman Mapeza coached outfit as they are now the fourth Zimbabwean team to get an opportunity to eat at the same table with Africa’s football aristocrats after Dynamos, CAPS United and now defunct Monomotapa.

Mapeza, who had warned his lads against complacency, heaped praise on the team.

“We wanted the group stage and we got it albeit against an equally good team. It had to take my boys extra attention as we didn’t want to be caught off-guard at the back. Remember, any goal from them would have complicated matters,” said Mapeza.

On his side, Platinum captain Norman Mhari said they are ready for the new challenge.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “We set a target as a team which is to get into the mini league and we are all happy that we have achieved the goal we had set.”   [/perfectpullquote]

“Every player wants to leave a history at a club, FC Platinum has never been to the mini league so that is why we all worked so hard to get the team through; it was not easy but I am happy we have managed to do it.”

“But that does not mean to say we will relax now that we are going to the group stages, we are not going there to make numbers we want to do well again.”

“We are ready for the new challenge, I am appealing to our supporters and the country at large to continue supporting us like they have always been doing,” said Mhari.

The game had a cagey start with Rodwell Chinyengetere getting the first real chance on the quarter hour mark, but his effort went over the bar.

Platinum were denied what looked a clear penalty when Gift Mbweti was brought down in the Otoho box, with the referee playing on.

The visitors struggled to get near the goal in the first period with all of their attempts going off target. The first time they had an effort on goal was in the 51st minute, but it gave no trouble to the keeper.

Farai Madhananga almost broke the deadlock in the 74th minute, only for his shot to go straight into the hands of the keeper.

FC Platinum remained disciplined for the remainder of the game as it ended in a goalless stalemate. They have become the first team based outside Harare to reach the mini-league phase of the tournament.

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