BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC Platinum starlet Kelvin Mangiza has revealed that the team was locked in the bus outside Benjamin Mkapa Stadium forcing players and officials to jump out through the windows ahead of the crucial CAF Champions League first round second leg tie against Simba SC last Wednesday.
Mangiza, one of the players who tested positive of Covid-19, was reliving the ordeal that FC Platinum went through in Tanzania before the Zimbabwean champions lost 4-0 and missed out on qualification to the group stages of the competition.
Pictures of FC Platinum players disembarking from the bus through the windows made rounds on social media moments before kick-off of the ill-tempered encounter igniting speculation of superstition in African football.
The trip was marred by controversy, and the main subject of discussion concerned the alleged manipulation of Covid-19 test results.
Although that was not proven, the Platinum miners endured a rather rough ride in the build-up to the match upon their arrival in Tanzania.
Mangiza chronicled to StandardSport how they were mistreated by the Tanzanian outfit before the match.
“From the hotel, they delayed us to go to the stadium just because they did not want us to use our own transportation and when we arrived at the stadium, the bus driver switched off the bus, took the keys and went out,” Mangiza said.
“He was nowhere to be seen, yet he left without opening the door. That is when people came out through the windows and some through the driver’s door so that they could get into the stadium.
“That was not the end of it because they locked the doors of the entrance into the pitch and in the changing rooms. They opened late such that we had no time to move around feeling the surface of the pitch.”
That, for young Mangiza, was an unforgettable experience, especially that he later tested positive for Covid-19 from tests conducted just before the team’s departure from the East African country.
As a result, the 19-year-old remained behind in quarantine in Tanzania alongside Silas Songani, Petros Mhari, Rainsome Pavari, Ellie Ilunga and Lawrence Mhlanga.
He said being left behind in quarantine was a bitter pill to swallow for him.
“Being left behind you know the feeling, I was just worried that my family FC Platinum is going back home and I am being left behind because of this Covid-19 thing,” he said.
“Health-wise, I am totally fine, I don’t feel anything like I tested positive, but I don’t think I am affected.”
Meanwhile, FC Platinum will be hoping for a happier return to continental club football after being drawn against Senegalese side ASC Diaraf in the playoff round of the CAF Confederation up on Friday.
FC Platinum will host the Senegalese in Harare on February 14 with the reverse fixture scheduled for the West African nation a week later.