FC Platinum hit rocky waters

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HARARE – FC Platinum have maintained that there is no crisis at the club but are only making key adjustments to strengthen their institution going forward, the Daily News on Sunday reports.

The future of their title-winning coach Lizwe Sweswe is currently not clear after reports from Zvishavane indicated that the club is about to jettison him to the development side.

Sweswe, who led the platinum miners to their third successive Castle Lager Premiership title last year following Norman Mapeza’s departure, seems to have fallen out with new coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh.

Ever since the Dutchman’s arrival last December, Sweswe was relegated back to the assistant role.

As there appears to be no chemistry between the two, de Jongh has put in motion plans to boot out Sweswe from the technical team.

But speaking to the Daily News on Sunday FC Platinum communications manager Chido Chizondo dismissed this notion saying there will be adjustments at the club and Sweswe is not going anywhere.

“Following the resumption of the league there will be several structural adjustments…and these will be notified in due course…Sweswe remains a pivotal part of the FC Platinum family,” said Chizondo.

An insider told the Daily News on Sunday the issue has divided the club’s leadership.

“The Dutchman does not want to work with Sweswe and he made it clear to the executive.

“At the same time, the club feels they are not getting any value from their development programme which plays in Division One.

“So in a move which will kill two birds with one stone, Sweswe will be reassigned to FC Platinum U19 and de Jongh will bring a new assistant of his choice,” said the Pure Platinum Play insider.

While all this drama is happening in the Mandava Stadium corridors, the platinum miners were recently dealt a huge blow ahead of their participation in the African Champions League after loosing the highly-rated duo of winger Silas Songani and midfielder Last Jesi to Sudanese giants Al-Hilal.

The two arrived in Khartoum yesterday in the company of former Dynamos forward Edward Sadomba and respected football agent George Deda to complete the deals.

After reaching the group stages of the competition in the last two seasons where they failed to get a win, FC Platinum were hoping to make an impact when the competition resumes in November.

Having spent the last seven years in Europe, Songani was a marquee signing for Pure Platinum Play at the start of the year and big this were expected from him.

Jesi had shown plenty of quality last season with Manica Diamonds and that’s why FC Platinum had done everything to sign him on loan.

Meanwhile, the club had hoped to have been given a waiver to at least start training in preparation for their champions league campaign.

However, they have been made to wait a little bit longer as football is yet to get the green light from the government to resume training amidst the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The reigning champions have been inactivate since March when the government announced a nationwide lockdown and banned all sporting activities.

The government is currently working on a roadmap with Zifa and other relevant stakeholders for the resumption of local football having been inactive for the past six months.

The government wants local football to adopt a bio-secure bubble model in order for the domestic season to be allowed to finally commence in the wake of the Covid-19.

FC Platinum coach de Jongh is not pleased with how the whole process is being handled.

“How is it possible for preparations to be done for only four weeks and then want to start the league.

“Preparation needs a minimum of six weeks and now after more than six months with no training, teams need eight weeks for preparations,” he recently said.

The platinum miners are hoping to make it into the group stages of the competition for a third time in a row.

After underwhelming performances in the competition in 2011 and 2018 when they were eliminated in the qualifying rounds, the Zvishavane-based side finally reached the group stages at the end of 2018 when Caf realigned their season.

Last year they made it into the group stages but found themselves in a tough pool together with the aristocrats of African football in Al Ahly (Egypt), Etoil du Sahel (Tunisia), and Al Hilal (Sudan).

They eventually finished bottom of the group with only a single point gained from the 1-1 draw against Al Ahly at Barbourfields Stadium last January.

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