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FC PLATINUM coach Norman Mapeza has urged his players to guard against complacency when they clash with Kenyan outfit Sofapaka in the second leg of the Caf Confederation Cup preliminary round tie at Mandava this Saturday.

The platinum miners carry a 2-1 aantage from the first leg of the preliminary round tie in Nairobi two weeks ago and have better chances of going past the first hurdle.

However, Mapeza yesterday told The Herald that it was still game on.

The former Warriors coach said his players should not be carried away by their lead as Sofapaka were a good team.

FC Platinum snatched a vital away win two weeks ago, courtesy of goals from Brian Muzondiwa and Donald Ngoma while Fiston Abdoul reduced the arrears for the hosts.

“I think we started off well overall and, because we won away and now that we have one foot in the first round, we need to guard more against complacency,” said Mapeza.

“Of course, we won that match but I tell you it was not an easy game. Sofapaka are a very good side and I am sure if they had converted the chances that we gave them in that match we should be speaking of a different story now.

“We gave away possession in very dangerous positions in that game but they just could not capitalise on that. We hope to improve on that.”

The platinum miners had concerns over match fitness ahead of the first leg since they were coming from the off-season break but Mapeza is happy with the progress they are making.

FC Platinum have a blend of youth and experience in their squad and Mapeza said he was looking forward to a fierce competition for places if their bill of health stays clean.

“Everyone is working very hard. We have no injuries to worry about. Even in the first leg we had no injuries but if you take into consideration that we are coming from pre-season you will understand about the issues of match fitness.

“The guys we took to Kenya are the ones we thought had better fitness levels. The headache that we may encounter is on choosing who should play on the day,” said Mapeza.

Sofapaka coach Sam Timbe is on record declaring that his side will be coming to Zimbabwe on a serious mission.

The visitors warmed up to this tie with a morale-boosting 2-1 win over Ushuru in the opening match of their domestic league at the weekend.

Timbe told the Kenyan media that Sunday’s win was a big motivation for his side as they prepare for their trip to Zimbabwe.

They scored their goals through John Barasa and Collins Shivachi.

The Kenyans are expected in the country tomorrow afternoon before connecting to Bulawayo.

The visitors will then travel the distance of 180km from Bulawayo to Zvishavane by road.

The match will be handled by match officials from Botswana with match commissioner, Filipe Lucas Johane, coming from Mozambique.

Referee Tirelo Mositwane will be assisted by Bakwena Simankalele and Madondo Kitso Sibanda while Omphile Phutego will be the fourth official.

Meanwhile, five Zimbabwean officials have also been handed regional assignments in the Caf competitions.

ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela, a refreshing voice at the association, told their website that five local match officials will be involved in inter-club competitions at the weekend.

“A quartet headed for a clash between Royal Leopards of Swaziland and Biest Wits of South Africa is made up of centre referee Norman Matemera, Salani Ncube (first assistant) Bongani Gadzikwa (second assistant) and the fourth official Thabani Bamala.

“Ruzive Ruzive will be the fourth official in Zambia for the encounter pitting Zesco United from the host country and Mbabane Stars of Swaziland,” said Gwesela.

Source : The Herald

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