BY FORTUNE MBELE
FC PLATINUM will take their final preparations for their preliminary round second leg tie of the Caf Champions League against Malawi giants Nyasa Big Bullets to Bulawayo tomorrow ahead of the match at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
The Zimbabwe champions played all their group stage matches of the last edition of the tournament at Barbourfields, with their match against South Africa’s Orlando Pirates that ended in a goalless draw attracting a bumper crowd in January.
They lost to Horoya AC of Guinea and Tunisian giants Espérance in February and March, respectively, at the same venue and failed to make it past the group stages in the tournament.
Having kicked off their campaign in the 2019-2020 competition with a goalless draw against Nyasa Big Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium in Malawi 10 days ago, they will be looking to finally get their first win in this competition at BF.
FC Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo confirmed the club will be travelling to Bulawayo tomorrow, while Nyasa Big Bullets, coached by former Warriors and Dynamos gaffer Kalisto Pasuwa, will also be in the City of Kings tomorrow.
“We will be in Bulawayo on Thursday for the game, while I understand our opponents will be in the country tomorrow (today) and will also arrive in Bulawayo on Thursday,” Chizondo said.
Ahead of the tie, FC Platinum, who rule the roost in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, fell 2-0 to Triangle in the local league at Gibbo Stadium on Sunday, while Nyasa Big Bullets beat Dwangwa United 3-1 on Saturday to move up to position two in the TNM Super League in Malawi.
Pasuwa has in his side 11 players who have been called up to the Malawi national team, The Flames’ 33-member squad currently preparing for the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
Midfielder Peter Banda and striker Patrick Phiri are some of Nyasa Big Bullets players called up to the Flames and were on target against Dwangwa side on Saturday, with Banda netting a brace.
Also in the Flames’ ranks are stand-in captain Chimango Kayira, goalkeepers Ernest Kakhobwe and Rabson Chiyenda, defenders Charles Petro, Gomezgani Chirwa and Precious Sambani, midfielders Mike Mkwate and Chimwemwe Idana and striker Hassan Kajoke.
Mapeza admitted that his side faces a tough challenge against a good Nyasa Big Bullets side and they will not take anything for granted in the second