The Confederation of African Football have assigned 2018 Fifa World Cup referees to handle FC Platinum’s make-or-break tie against Clube Desportivo Primero de Agosto at Mandava on Wednesday. The Zimbabwean champions are on the ropes and seemingly at the mercy of the Angolans after falling 0-3 in the first leg, but coach Norman Mapeza has been talking tough and vowing to lead his men in a fightback.
Local clubs have over the years, felt hard done by poor match officiating, but with a South African at the centre, Mapeza’s men will reckon they have a fighting chance to avoid an embarrassing exit at the first hurdle.
In the reverse fixture, the miners did not blame Zambian referee, Audrick Nkole, for their defeat, but the former’s decision to show defensive linkman, Winston Mhango, a yellow card early in the match was a bit harsh.
CAF have assigned South African referee, Christopher Harrison, to handle the match in which FC Platinum seeks a monumental turnaround at Mandava.
Harrison will be assisted by compatriots, first assistant Athenskosi Ndongeni, second assistant John Van Wyk Mervyn, fourth official Tinyiko Victor Hlungwani and Mzee Zam Ali of Zanzibar is the match commissioner.
After their first leg heavy defeat, all pointers are that FC Platinum are headed for an early exit from Africa’s premier inter-club football tournament.
But Mapeza maintains his men are not throwing in the towel yet.
“We just need self-belief and keep on working hard, it is not yet over and in football anything can happen and we just need to work on our mistakes for the return leg.
“We made three mistakes in the first leg and we were punished and so we need to work on that and address those mistakes,” said Mapeza.
FC Platinum will be looking at the likes of star defender, Kelvin Moyo, to keep it tight at the back with their forwards tasked with the hunt for goals to overturn the result.
“They beat us at their home ground and they will also be coming to our home ground so we can also win just like what they did. We just need to work hard to score goals like they did and avoid conceding, we just need to work on our mistakes and it can be done,” said Moyo.
The Angolans have been camped in Zimbabwe for a week ahead of the reverse fixture hoping to acclimatise to local conditions.