Mapeza rallies FC Platinum for must-win Horoya clash

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By Sports Reporter

FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza has challenged his charges to improve their mental strength as they seek to breathe life into their CAF Champions League Group B campaign.

Mapeza’s charges take on Guinea side Horoya AC at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.

After managing a goalless draw against South African side Orlando Pirates in their first match before losing 2-0 away to reigning African champions Espérance, FC Platinum need nothing short of a victory enhance their chances of progressing to the knockout phase of the competition.

Horoya, on the other hand, also have a point from two matches after losing 3-0 to Orlando Pirates in South Africa a fortnight ago having kicked off their campaign with a one-all draw with Espérance.

Mapeza, who is looking for his first win in the group stages of the competition, said his charges need to be mentally strong in order to utilise home advantage against the West Africans.   

“I think we are in the same position with Horoya but we are playing at home and we need to push for a victory which would enhance our chances of progressing in the competition,” Mapeza told reporters in Bulawayo ahead of the match.

“We really need to win tomorrow and in terms of preparations, so far so good; the boys are raring to go.

“In games like these sometimes it’s not about the physical aspect but about the mental strength, we’ve come a long way and it’s now up to the boys.

“We have to push for a win tomorrow, we have to attack but we also need to be cautious.”

The Guinea champions jetted into Harare on Saturday – seven days ahead of the match day – an indication of how serious they are taking their match against FC Platinum.

Horoya team manager Amadou Bangoura said although they knew very little about FC Platinum, they were taking their match against the Zimbabwean champions very seriously

“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.

He said they had so much respect for their opponents.

“I know FC Platinum are now one of the big teams in Zimbabwe and have won two championships. So, we are pleased to play with them. I wish the best team to win.

“I think, apart from Esperance who are the favourites of the group, all the other three teams have good chances of progressing.

“So, I feel the team that believes very well in its capabilities will take the other place.”

The other CAF Champions League Group B match will see Orlando Pirates of South Africa hosting holders Esperance also on Saturday in Johannesburg.