FC PLATINUM’S bid to reach the CAF Champions League group stage faces a tricky test when they take on Congolese side Association Sportive (AS) Otoho D’yo in a first round, first leg encounter at the Stade Omnisport Marien Ngouabi d’Owando in Owando this afternoon.
By Terry Madyauta
The match kicks off at 4:30pm.
The two-time Zimbabwean champions have twice before failed to reach the group stages of CAF Champions League in 2012 and last year and once in the Confederation Cup in 2015.
Having received harsh lessons in their previous excursions, the Norman Mapeza-mentored side, which looks strong on paper, will be hoping to lay a solid foundation in their bid to finally break the jinx, with a gutsy performance against the Congolese side, who are making their debut in this tournament.
While they received a hostile welcome in Congo Brazzaville, Mapeza and his charges will approach their first round tie today with caution hoping for a positive outcome.
And FC Platinum captain Petros Mhari is confident their past experiences will help them hit good strides this time around.
“We did well locally and the achieved the other objectives, so now we are in another tricky position to reach the group stages of the Champions League,” said Mhari.
“It’s not a secret that our previous appearances at this level have not been good, but our target is on improving that.
“At this stage our past experiences have prepared us mentally and now we know the demands at this level
“No matter the treatment and conditions, I believe that as a team we are ready, we are working for a good result and also maintaining our form.”
After surpassing their first hurdle against Malagasy side CNaPs, Mapeza pleaded for patience knowing the tricky and demanding nature of continental tournaments.
AS Otoho have also presented themselves as serious opponents after they booted out last term’s semi-finalists Premiero Agosto in the preliminary round.
The Congolese side boost of an impressive home record, where they have gone for seven games without dropping a point and they will be looking to maintain that when they host the two-time Zimbabwean champions.