At Last, FC Platinum Get Green Light

FC PLATINUM coach, Hendrikus Pieter De Jongh, has started giving his players intensive programmes to shed weight ahead of a possible return to group training at the end of this week.

ZIFA yesterday confirmed the platinum miners have been given the greenlight to start preparing for their CAF Champions League campaign.

The Zvishavane club are scheduled to plunge into CAF’s flagship inter-club tournament next month.

But, some of De Jongh’s charges are in bad shape and he has since started giving them weight management programmes.

The club should get their official written permission today after the Government’s decision was communicated to ZIFA yesterday.

Football is still regarded a high-risk sport in the country, under the coronavirus lockdown measures.

FC Platinum had applied for a special waiver, to be allowed to start group training, as they look forward to breaking their group stage ceiling in the competition.

“My club is already running behind schedule due to the fact that the players have not been training, as a group, for the past seven months,” the Dutchman said.

“For a team, which is supposed to play CAF Champions League football, that is a lot of time, without kicking a ball, in a competitive environment.

“The truth is we are running late, given that we have gone for too long, without playing football.

“Other clubs, who will be taking part in the CAF Champions League, have already started preparing for the continental championship.

“I am hoping that, at the end of the week, the clearance for us to start training will come.

“The main concern we have at the moment is we need to make the players fit. Some need weight training and other important aspects need to be looked at as well.

“So, I have already intensified their individual training schedules to try and get rid of their weight.

“There is also the issue of endurance, agility, speed, strength, which we need to shape before November.”

The Dutch mentor, who was brought to Zvishavane to improve the miners’ CAF Champions League showing, said he has resolved to give his players two training sessions per day.

The former Highlanders gaffer has already won a pre-season trophy for the platinum miners.

He masterminded a 2-0 win over his former paymasters, Bosso, in the Castle Super Cup final in March.

While he acknowledges the departure of midfielder, Last Jesi, who has joined Sudanese giants Al Hilal, remains a huge blow, he believes he has found an equally good replacement.

“No doubt, Last (Jesi) is a good player. He is complete and we were banking on him in the CAF Champions League but such is football,” he said.

“We have since found an equally good replacement and we will be unveiling him to the media very soon.

“Players come and go and we wish Jesi good luck, in his new challenge, at his new team.

“We will be happy to see him succeed there.”

The gaffer, who yesterday appeared to mock the Warriors technical team led by Croatian Zdravko Logarusic after they drafted in some local players, said he was not in a hurry to replace another Al Hilal hopeful Silas Songani.

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