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FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza is bracing for war in Dar es Salaam when his charges take on Young Africans in a Confederation Cup first round tie at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on Sunday. The platinum miners are scheduled to fly out to Tanzania tomorrow and their coach is aware that it will not be an easy afternoon against perennial continental football campaigners Young Africans.

Platinum have also arranged a bus for supporters that is expected to leave for Tanzania today and arrive in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

Although he is happy with the way his Confederation Cup debutants have prepared, Mapeza is taking a cautious approach to the encounter in which Zimbabwe’s sole representatives on the African Safari will be hoping to secure a result that would help make their task easier when they host Yanga at Mandava a fortnight later.

“It’s going to be war. It’s war. To me each and every game is war. Even if I play a friendly it will be war.

“We are not going to play in a relaxed mood. We are not playing the game against ourselves. Our preparations have gone so well and we can’t complain and we are just waiting for the game,” Mapeza said.

The former Warriors coach however, chose to be more cautious in his views on Yanga.

“We are going to a place where we don’t know much about the opposition team (Young Africans).

“But I have gathered some information on the team and I heard that, technically they are a good side but physically they are not all that threatening but they are very quick from midfield going forward.

“We need to be smart and cautious and try to come back home with a positive result,” said Mapeza.

Mapeza has reported a clean bill of health in his squad and is going to use a largely unchanged side from the one that beat Sofapaka of Kenya 2-1 in the preliminary round.

“There are not going to be major changes in the team, we are going to use the same players that we used against Sofapaka but they might be some changes here and there,” said Mapeza.

Young Africans are one of the giants in Tanzania and are coached by Hans Van De Pluijm who has five foreigners in their squad including a Brazilia, Andrey Coutinho.

The Tanzanians who went to the second round on a 3-2 aggregate after beating Botswana Defence Forces X1 are seasoned campaigners. Their country is also known for inflicting injury to Zimbabwe’s biggest teams, Highlanders and the Warriors.

Formed in 1935, Young Africans are one of the biggest teams in Africa with a large following in Tanzania.

They have won the league cup 24 times since 1968 and have made nine appearances in the Champions League and three appearances in the Confederation Cup.

FC Platinum, whose previous continental experience is an appearance in the Champions League, however, have their aces in the pack with national Under-23 captain and midfielder Wisdom Mutasa being a revelation so far in this tournament.

Mutasa is not short of support as FC Platinum can also count on Mutasa’s close friend Walter Musona, Thabani Kamusoko and Wellington Kamudyariwa.

They also have in their ranks young Tatenda Dzumbunu, Allan Gahadzikwa, rangy forward Donald Ngoma, Brian Muzondiwa and Zambian youth international Obrey Chirwa.

Former Dynamos defender Gift Bello commands a rear guard that also has twins Kelvin and Elvis Moyo.

The last time Yanga played a club from Zimbabwe they upstaged Highlanders at Barbourfields but Mapeza was quick to dismiss that as statistics for the archives.

Source : The Herald