By Mukudzei Chingwere
Ngezi Platinum coach Tonderai Ndiraya has warned his FC Platinum counterpart, Norman Mapeza, to be wary of Angolan side Clube Desportivo de Agosto when the two clubs clash in the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League first leg tie on Sunday.
Ndiraya’s men were knocked out of the CAF Confederation Cup last year by Angolan opposition, Recreativo do Libolo, in the first round.
FC Platinum are scheduled to leave Zimbabwe on Thursday, three days before their match against the Angolan champions in Luanda to acclimatise.
The former Warriors gaffer will carry a 20-man squad for their continental club sojourn hoping to grind a result in the first leg that will help them finish off the Angolans when they come to Zimbabwe in a fortnight.
But before plunging into the African jungle the Ngezi Platinum coach Ndiraya, who battled Mapeza in the title run-in last year, had a word for his opposite number.
Ndiraya maintained his charges were robbed in the Confederation Cup last year, but hinted to Mapeza that the Angolan teams are well resourced and boast high-profile players with international exposure.
“The Angolan teams are well-resourced and the team we played had almost 75 percent foreign nationals in their squad. The teams are just organised and the organisation might intimidate you.
“But in terms of football there is nothing really special from the Angolans and in the field of play we matched them and we were even better than them.
“FC Platinum must approach the game with confidence and play their normal game.
“When we played against them we took the game to them and we were actually denied a legitimate goal and when you play away you need to have that in mind.
“The Angolan teams used to be hostile when you went there, but for us it was different, you never know this time with FC Platinum they just need to be prepared for anything,” said Ndiraya
The Ngezi Platinum gaffer warned that conditions in Angola were tough.
“Angola is hot and quite humid especially in Luanda where they are going. I think when they go they need to be cautious and adjust as the game progresses.
“If they manage to get a draw, especially a scoring draw or even lose by one goal, then they will be able to proceed to the next stage.
“But generally in terms of football they should be able to match them. Norman is quite experienced in African football and should be able to adjust and do well.
“FC Platinum are a good team and they have bolstered their squad which makes them even stronger and able to match other teams from the continent,” said Ndiraya.
Mapeza said the Angolan side was a good team with physical players after watching his next opponents in action when they played against fierce rivals, Petro de Luanda, last year.