FC Platinum in a fix over Champs League

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Godknows Matarutse
SPORTS WRITER
matarutseg@dailynews.co.zw

FC PLATINUM are in a spot of bother regarding how they will be able to prepare for the upcoming 2020/21 African Champions League campaign due to complications created by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The reigning three-time Zimbabwe champions are currently inactive after the government banned all sporting activities in March as a precaution to curb the spread of the novel virus.
On Tuesday, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced that the Champions League will commence on November 20 with the preliminary rounds.
This has presented Pure Platinum Play with a huge challenge as they risk taking part in the competition having been inactive for over eight months.
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) had hoped to commence the 2020 season this month but there has been no movement in that regard.
This has left FC Platinum cracking their heads on how they will be able to navigate through the continental competition when local football is currently on hold.
“We want to participate (in Africa) but we will be guided by the PSL and Zifa in their engagements with the government on when we can start group training,” FC Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo told the Daily News yesterday.
“For now, just like everyone else, there is nothing we can do apart from waiting for the authorities to give us the go ahead.”
FC Platinum’s challenges have been compounded by the fact that Zifa seems in no hurry to secure government approval for the game to resume.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela told the Daily News that they are still at a consultation stage and are not yet ready to send their return to play protocols to the authorities.
“We are still consulting with stakeholders. As soon as we have concluded our consultations we will then submit our proposal to the government,” Gwesela said.
In the event that FC Platinum get all the necessary approvals, this will be the fifth time they will be taking part in Africa’s premier inter-club competition.
After finishing second in 2011, the Zvishavane-based side made their debut appearance in the competition and bowed out in the first round after losing 5-2 on aggregate to Sudanese giants Al-Merreikh.
Pure Platinum Play only returned to the competition in 2018 after they had won the 2017 PSL title and they could not get past the preliminary round.
This time around they were hammered 5-1 on aggregate by Angolan side Primeiro de Agosto in a lopsided tie.
Former FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza and his men finally got it right that same year when they reached the group stages of the competition after Caf re-aligned their calendar with international dates.
The Zvishavane-based side was placed in a tough Group B that also comprised Tunisian giants Esperance, South African powerhouses Orlando Pirates and Guinea’s Horoya.
FC Platinum finished bottom of the group with only two points after draws with the Sea Robbers while losing all the other matches to Horoya and Esperance.
Last year, the Zimbabwean side also managed to reach the group stages and found themselves in a tough pool together with the aristocrats of African football in Al-Ahly (Egypt), Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) and Al-Hilal (Sudan).
Pure Platinum Play also finished bottom of the group with only a single point gained from the 1-1 draw against Al
Ahly at Barbourfields Stadium last January.
New FC Platinum coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh will be hoping his side goes all the way and reach the group stages for a third consecutive season.
Once they get to the group stages, their goal will be to secure their first win at that stage of the competition and hopefully progress to the knockout stages.

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