FC Platinum face Orlando Pirates invasion of Bulawayo in Caf Champions League opener

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Caf’s decision to move next week’s Caf Champions League between FC Platinum and Orlando Pirates from Mandava Stadium could prove advantageous to the visitors in terms of support.

The platinum miners home ground Mandava was condemned by Caf for failing to satisfy certain required standards, and the match will now be played at Barbourfields Stadium in Zimbabwe’s second largest city of Bulawayo which is 182 kilometres away from FC Platinum’s home town of Zvishavane.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) advises the football family that FC Platinum’s Total Champions League group match against Orlando Pirates will be played at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.

“The Confederation of African Football (Caf) advised Zifa that FC Platinum’s traditional home ground, Mandava Stadium does not meet minimum requirements for this stage of Africa’s prestigious club competition,” Zifa said in a statement.

FC Platinum are likely to endure a hostile environment at Barbourfields, the home of Zimbabwean traditional giants Highlanders who fans split allegiance with Pirates.

Highlanders share the same black and white colours with Pirates as well as the crossbones salute. A huge number of Highlanders fans also wear Pirates shirts during every match.

Having played their group stage qualifying matches at Mandava, FC Platinum expressed anger at Caf’s decision.

“We are naturally depressed because it came as a surprise on the 11th hour that our Mandava venue might not meet the requirements of Caf,” FC Platinum media officer Chido Chizondo told The Herald.