FC Platinum Look for Special Waiver

FC Platinum have started engaging ZIFA, to try and get a special waiver from the Government, to start team training.

They are set to represent the country in the CAF Champions now set to get underway in October.

The CAF leadership announced on Wednesday that their flagship inter-club competition, which failed to get underway last month as scheduled, will now begin in November.

But, unlike other clubs across the continent, who have either resumed their leagues or are preparing to start new terms, the Zvishavane side have been inactive for the past six months.

FC Platinum last played a competitive match, albeit a pre-season opener, when they dispatched Highlanders 2-0 to lift the Castle Challenge Cup at Barbourfields in March.

With all domestic football activities still suspended, and no indication as to when the 2020 season will begin, the club are now seeking to get clearance from the Government to start group training.

Club spokesperson, Chido Chizondo, said they were willing to represent the country and try and do better than their previous showing in the competition.

“We want to participate (in the CAF Champions League) but we will get guidance from PSL, ZIFA and other stakeholders on when we can start group training,” she said.

“Obviously, we will have to get clearance from the Government.

“We will only participate after getting clearance from the authorities. So, the necessary engagements have already started.”

Although players have been training alone at home, since the start of the lockdown in March, Chizondo said it was important for the team to start group training.

Only eight weeks remain before the start of the Champions League preliminary stages.

Head coach, Hendrikus Pieter De Jongh, who joined from Highlanders early this year, said he was in a tight corner.

“I am both excited, and worried,” the Dutchman said. “I am in a dilemma.

“I am very happy that, at last, there is hope that we will finally play football. It’s a good feeling, since my job is to coach football.

“Covid-19 is a threat and it has always been good to stay safe. But, the confirmation by CAF has cheered us up.

“But, then comes the problem. We have been sitting for the past six months, no training, no what.

“The league hasn’t yet started in Zimbabwe, due to complications arising from Covid-19.

“So, we are in a deep dilemma. We are between a rock and a hard place.”

He said while his players have been doing some individual work, they need the bonding that comes with team exercises.

“My players have been training alone at home. We need to train as a team since football is a team sport,” the Dutchman said.

“It is important to then start training, as a team, in the first week of October.

“We have to deal with the reality on the ground. We are behind schedule by far. Match fitness is key in this game and that is the element we are lacking.

“We need to be playing football every week but that has not happened and we are in a tight spot.”

De Jongh said his team would need to play, at least, three friendly matches before their first CAF Champions league assignment.

“I am praying that the league starts now. We need to play as many matches as we can before we can plunge into the African Safari.

“If our season fails to kick off, before November, then we will need to engage in friendly matches against competitive teams.

“It is always going to be difficult finding opponents, though, as local clubs haven’t been training, just like us.

“So, basically, we won’t get that much-needed value, especially when local football remains in lockdown.

“It is still difficult, as we speak, securing friendly matches against foreign clubs could also be difficult.”

The Zvishavane giants have found it difficult to negotiate their way from the Champions League group stages in the past two seasons.

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