By Mukudzei Chingwere
FC PLATINUM are hoping their fortress Mandava will be given the greenlight to host their final CAF Champions League match against defending champions Esperance of Tunisia.
CAF authorities this week inspected three stadiums in Zimbabwe — National Sports Stadium, Barbourfields and Mandava.
The giant stadium in Harare and Barbourfields already have been certified to host CAF matches but concern has been raised, in the past, over Mandava’s capacity to stage such games.
Coach Norman Mapeza’s troops have already played their two home Champions League matches against Orlando Pirates and Horoya AC in Bulawayo.
CAF stadium inspector, Sidio Mugadza, ran the ruler over the three venues and is expected to compile a report soon which will guide CAF in coming up with a decision.
If Mandava meets the minimum requirements it will be a major boost for the Zimbabwe champions ahead of the last pool match against Esperance next month.
“CAF has inspected the three stadiums in Zimbabwe and we are very optimistic that all of them will be homologated to host CAF matches,” said ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela.
“We are not yet sure when they will communicate if the venues have passed or not but we do not think it will take long.
“If Mandava passes, it might be in time for FC Platinum to host Esperance in Zvishavane,” said Gwesela.
The majority of FC Platinum fans haven’t seen their team playing at their fortress in their Champions League campaign.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe football legend, Moses Chunga, says he always feared FC Platinum would struggle to score goals in the Champions League.
The Zvishavane miners are yet to score in three Champions League group matches.
“When you look at their attack, you can see that, if the bar was going to be raised a little higher, they were always going to struggle to score goals in the group stages,” said Chunga.
“The statistics were there for everyone to see in the elimination rounds where their strike-force struggled to get goals and, when you get to the group stages, it becomes even tougher.
“The strike-force they have lacks pace, it does not attack the opposition for sustained periods and that is why they have struggled to get the goals.
“Compare them with CAPS United, when they played in the Champions League, and you can see the difference which I am talking about.