By Mukudzei Chingwere
FC Platinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0)
Zanaco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) (4)
Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum were handed a reality check of their pedigree at this level of the game when they slumped to a heavy defeat at the hands of Zambian giants, Zanaco, in a preparatory match at Mandava.
The Zvishavane miners are using friendly matches as part of their preparations for their return to the CAF Champions League this year where they face a tough examination.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza was, however, happy they have been shown their weaknesses. Felex Nyende scored twice, Isaac Chansa and Kennedy Musonda added a solitary goal apiece to give the miners a rude awakening ahead of the African safari.
FC Platinum started the match brightly with Marshall Mudehwe keeping the visitors on their toes with his blistering pace, but the Zambians turned the match on its head with four goals without reply.
The champions will be returning to continental football this year with a preliminary round tie against Angolan champions, Aagosto, set for February 11 in Luanda. Mapeza and his lieutenants said they wanted to play against a team that would exploit their weaknesses before embarking on their continental sojourn.
The Zambian side, which is home to former CAPS United midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike and ex-Tsholotsho linkman Zimisileni Moyo, proved too strong for Mapeza and his men.
Two years ago, the Zambians represented their country in the CAF Confederations Cup. Veteran Chipolopolo midfielder Chansa was brilliant in central midfield and the miners backline was always under pressure.
The Zimbabweans need to work on winning balls in midfield to avoid always keeping their defence under scrutiny. After the match Mapeza said he wanted to give all his players a chance before coming with his best team.
“After playing against Feroviairo we wanted to give everybody a chance to play and we gave everyone a run. I am happy with how they played, there were positives and, like I said, it was not about the result, but about the preparations.
“The way we conceded the goals were just mistakes, the first goal it was just two passes and they scored. It is that transitional period when we lost the ball, we were a bit slow.
“We still have about a week to go and I think by the time we go to Angola it will be fine,” said Mapeza.
Despite a convincing victory Zanaco coach, Mumamba Numba, said FC Platinum were not a bad team.
“They are not a bad team, there were times when they were on top of us. They are a good side which can do well in the Champions League,” said Numba.
FC Platinum: P Mhari (F Tizayi 83rd min), J Mukombwe, L Mhlanga, W Sitima, F Madhananga (G Mbweti 70th min), K Madzongwe, B Amidu (H Bakacheza 70th min), C Sibanda (K Moyo 65th min), M Mudehwe, S Mayembe (R Chinyengetere 50th min), A Eonde (N Papias 50th min)
Zanaco: R Kola, J Nakena, M Zimiseleni (C Chirwa 77th min), M Kitumbo, G Chilufya, B Musonda (A Kwiliko 79th min), R Pitriopa (C Mukuma 49th min), I Chansa (J Chileshe 68th min), C Mususu (K Musonde 49th min), F Nyaende, C Zulu. The Herald
Source: Nehanda Radio