PSL inaction hampers FC Platinum progress
THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) says it feels the pain of FC Platinum lacking match fitness due to the local league being inactive as evidenced by the Zimbabwe champions’ struggle in continental football.
After being booted out of the Champions League by Tanzanian side Simba Sports Club, the platinum miners failed to utilise home advantage, going down 0-1 against ASC Jaraaf of Senegal at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
The result in the second tier continental competition means that FC Platinum will now need to win the return leg in Dakar by a two-goal margin to remain in the tournament. PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele said he agrees with the platinum miners’ coach Norman Mapeza that the inactivity partly affected their competitiveness as the players lacked the cutting edge from playing week in week out.
“We agree with the coach on the lack of local football competitions. We are yet to experience more effects of the pandemic,” Ndebele told the Daily News yesterday.
“We are currently working on the restart of football competitions, subject to the government guidelines.” The domestic football league has been comatose since 2019 when FC Platinum completed their championship hat trick on the trot. The advent of the global pandemic, coronavirus, has made it difficult for contact sport such as football to return owing to the guidelines put in place for its safe resumption.
A national lockdown was announced by the government in March last year as part of measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country. The Sports and Recreational Commission allowed a phased resumption of sport premised on strict adherence to the Covid-19 regulations in October.
Included in the conditions was a mini league format that demanded a secure bio-bubble environment that the local football authorities are still sweating over as it is costly to implement.
“A substantial amount of funding will be required to support the restart of football competition,” Ndebele added. On Sunday, FC Platinum missed an opportunity to go to Senegal while in the driving seat as they created numerous chances which they failed to bury.
Midfielder Silas Songani was denied from the spot, missing a first half penalty while defender Gift Bello hit the crossbar before a yawning net in the final minute of stoppage time. During the encounter players took turns to miss the target after perfect build-ups and not even the returning Donald Ngoma and Rodwell Chinyengetere could save the team from defeat.
Coach Mapeza conceded the missed chances hammered home the effects of inaction in the domestic league since 2019. “I think we had some good chances to score goals but unfortunately we failed to utilise them,” Mapeza told the Daily News.
“But also I feel that not playing football regularly really affected us. “We didn’t have that sharpness you usually get playing week in week out, it just wasn’t there.”
The former Warriors coach is not throwing in the towel yet.
“We still have to be positive, you never know with football— we can go there and come back with the result,” he said. “It’s not yet over we still have another game to play.”