Lacklustre Platinum Face Must-Win Tie Against Horoya
FC Platinum faces their toughest assignment this year when they take on unpredictable Horoya AC of Guinea in their must-win game.
FC Platinum faces their toughest assignment this year when they take on unpredictable Horoya AC of Guinea in their must-win CAF Champions League group stages clash at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
The Zimbabweans’ lackluster performance in this tournament has left them with their backs against the wall after succumbing to a 2-0 loss to Tunisian giants Esperance and sharing spoils in a drab goalless draw against Orlando Pirates.
They sit third in Group B, three points adrift of leaders Pirates who need at least two wins to advance.
Horoya, on the other side are in a similar scenario, as they must win the tie if they harbor any ambitions of progressing into the quarter-finals of the group.
Only the top two teams from each of the four groups automatically advance to the quarter-finals after matchday six of the competition.
The platinum miners need to win tomorrow’s game and at least get something in the reverse tie set to be played in Conakry on February 12 if they are to keep their hopes alive of progressing into the last-eight stage of the competition.
Platinum coach Norman Mapeza says he believes in the ability of his players, and their potential to beat the Guineans.
“We are ready for this game: all our games are important and we play to win all the time and this game is no different, our target is to win just as we have always done whenever we play,” he said in an interview with Daily News Live.
The Zvishavane based outfit will be without their dependable defender Elvis Moyo, who received a second yellow card in the match against Esperance. Moyo had played every minute of FC Platinum’s campaign from the preliminary rounds.
Horoya, who are still smarting from a 0-3 drubbing by Orlando Pirates of South Africa which condemned them to the bottom of the group, arrived in Harare seven days before the match
The HAC managing director Amadou Bangoura, who is leading the delegation, said they had to come early since they want nothing short of maximum points to revive their campaign.
“The reason we are here is simple, we come from Guinea which is too far from Zimbabwe. So if we want to be efficient we must come early to prepare for our match set for next Saturday. That is the only reason we are here and we thank the Zimbabwe federation (ZIFA) for facilitating our preparations.
“This is the biggest and most important match for all of us at HAC. That’s why we are here, being early to prepare for that,” said Bangoura in a separate interview with Nehanda Radio.
The 16-times Guinean champions, who were quarter-finalists in the last edition of the tournament, have had a poor start in this year’s group stage campaign after drawing at home with holders Esperance of Tunisia and then losing by a bigger margin away to Orlando Pirates in Johannesburg.
“We are very positive. The people of Guinea are very positive in their approach, we like football and every time we play football the only thing we think about is to win.”
“We respect our opponents FC Platinum very much but for us these three points are fundamental. I don’t even think we have to go back home without these three points,” added Bangoura.
Veteran French coach Patrice Neveu will be on the touchline for the Guineans and will be depending on exploits of Ghanaian forward Ocansey Mandela Amamoo for victory.
Algerian match referee Mustapha Ghorbal will officiate the game between Platinum and Horoya.
Both Horoya and FC Platinum are still winless with each having a point but Horoya AC anchor Group B because of inferior goal difference.