Time no longer on   FC Platinum’s side  . . . league seeks increase in Covid-19 relief aid  

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Godknows Matarutse

ZIMBABWE’s representatives in the African Champions League, FC Platinum are now increasingly getting agitated with the long delay that it has taken for local football to be given the green light to resume amidst the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

This comes as the Zvishavane-based side is supposed to begin their 2020-21 Champions League campaign at the end of November.
Pure Platinum Play have been inactive since March when the government declared a nationwide lockdown and banned all sporting activities.
In order for the domestic game to resume and allow FC Platinum to begin preparing for the continental competition, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) needs to be given the green light by the government.
However, Zifa took their time in coming up with the return to play protocols and only submitted their application to the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) earlier this week.
With the government also seized with other pressing matters, it means Zifa’s application will not be fast-tracked.
“It’s a process and as SRC, we have done our part and forwarded the document to the (Sports) ministry; they are the ones with final say,” SRC director-general Prince Mupazviriho told the Daily News yesterday.
With Zifa’s application now going through the government’s pipeline, it means that FC Platinum will have to wait a
little bit longer before they begin their preparations.
There is also a huge possibility that the government’s health experts might reject the application which means Zifa will have to go back on the drawing board and redo the process all over again.
SRC director-general Prince Mupazviriho yesterday told the Daily News that they have done their part and are now awaiting the Sports ministry’s decision.
FC Platinum coach Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh is not pleased by the way the whole process has been 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,” the Dutchman, who recently returned from a trip in eSwathini, said.
The club’s spokesperson Chido Chizondo said their hands are tied and they cannot do anything without government approval.
“We are waiting to hear from the authorities,” is all Chizondo could tell the Daily News yesterday.
The delay in Zifa getting approval for football to return will greatly hamper FC Platinum’s chances of making an impact in the Champions League.
Pure Platinum Play 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, FC Platinum also maned to make it into 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 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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