Zimbabwean clubs begin CAF mission

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By Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S representatives in the annual Confederation of African Football (CAF) continental club competitions, FC Platinum and Triangle will be hoping for a positive start when they kick start their campaigns in the African Champions League and African Confederation Cup respectively this weekend.

FC Platinum will be the country’s lone representative in the African Champions League after winning their second successive Premier Soccer League title last season while Triangle will be making their debut in CAF Confederation Cup after winning the Chibuku Super Cup last year.

Zvishavane-based FC Platinum are appearing in their third straight Caf Champions League campaign, will be looking to get a positive result away from home when they face Malawian outfit Nyasa Big Bullets in their preliminary round first-leg match in Blantyre on Saturday.

After reaching the group stages of the competition for the first time in their history last year, the Norman Mapeza-coached FC Platinum side is eager to make a good impression again although it faces a tough task against the Malawian side coached by former Dynamos and Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa.

Pasuwa told the Big Bullets website that he was relishing the clash against his compatriot and childhood friend Mapeza.

“I grew up together with Norman in the same neighbourhood and we played together. It’s like we are brothers both on and off the field.

“But that counts less in a game of football. He is a good coach and I respect him a lot, so it will be fireworks in that fixture,” said Pasuwa.

Pasuwa’s Nyasa Big Bullets head into this match on a four-match unbeaten streak and are fourth on the 16-team Malawian Super League table with 26 points, four behind log leaders Be Forward Wanderers.

Last Saturday Nyasa Bullets beat fifth-placed Silver Strikers 3-1 at the Kamuzu Stadium while FC Platinum were held to a goalless draw by CAPS United at Mandava in Zvishavane last Saturday.

The Zimbabwean champions lead the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table at the halfway stage with 32 points, two ahead of Black Rhinos.

If they progress from the preliminary stage, FC Platinum will face with the winner of the other preliminary round match between Tanzania’s Simba Stars and Uniao Desportiva do Songo of Angola in the last and final qualifying round before the group stages of the prestigious tournament.

Zimbabwe’s other representatives in continental club football; Triangle will be aiming to make a winning debut in the CAF Confederation Cup when they host little-known Burundian opponents Rukinzo Football Club in the preliminary round at Barbourfields on Sunday.

The Lowveld outfit won the right to represent Zimbabwe by winning the Chibuku Super Cup last year.

The Sugar Boys head into continental club football on the back of an impressive run of form the domestic league as they are currently on an eight match unbeaten run in the league.

Triangle coach Taurai Mangwiro, whose side managed a draw against Harare giants Dynamos last Saturday said it is important that his charges will begin the competition on the coming from a positive result.

“What we did not need was to lose (against Dynamos), now we have gone eight games undefeated, which is positive considering that we once lost four on the trot,” said Mangwiro.

“It was important for us to going there having gotten a positive result, I’m sure we did that to a greater extent,” he said.

If Triangle United progress to the final round of qualifiers, they are likely to meet either Fasil Kenema Sport Club of Ethiopia or Azam FC of Tanzania.