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B-METRO COMMENT: Zimbabwe needs to be part of the big football tent

24 Jan, 2020 - 00:01 0 Views
B-METRO COMMENT: Zimbabwe needs to be part of the big football tent

B-Metro

Despite their dominance in the local league, FC Platinum have constantly failed to make a mark at continental level.

The platinum miners are representing Zimbabwe for the third year on the trot in the Caf Champions League.

They reached the group stage, for the first time, during the 2018-2019 transitional season, which came immediately after the 2018 edition. 

FC Platinum have featured in three Champions League campaigns in the last 22 months. 

Although fatigue and the effects of a congested schedule have been showing, a lot of football lessons that border on ideal preparations and the need for quality players for a tournament of such magnitude, have been drawn. 

Late last year, club chairman Evans Mtombeni alluded to the need to improve their competitiveness, a development that can see Caf easily grant Zimbabwe two more slots in the inter-club competitions, giving the country four representatives in the African Safari. 

This could see domestic Premiership teams continue with their strong comeback into the group of the continent’s elite clubs.

After years in the wilderness, in which they staggered in the darkness in the Caf Champions League and Confederations Cup — leading to relegation from the group of 12 nations who can provide extra clubs — the local teams, led by FC Platinum, must prove their worth in continental competitions. 

Dynamos’ humiliating 1-7 aggregate defeat, at the hands of Esperance of Tunisia in the second round of the 2012 Champions League, mirrored the decline of the domestic clubs as a powerhouse on the continent. 

It also marked the last year two local clubs flew the country’s flag in the tournament.

At that time Zimbabwe was also the only Southern African nation among those with the privilege of fielding four teams in the two tournaments. 

It’s worrying that in their first campaign in the Champions League, Platinum finished winless in a group that included Pirates, Horoya of Guinea and eventual champions Esperance of Tunisia. 

This year they were given a group which has Sudanese giants Al Hilal, Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel and record eight-time winners Al Ahly.  They began the 2019/ 2020 campaign on a disappointing note, losing the opening three games.

First was a 1-2 away loss to Al Hilal of Sudan before a demoralising 0-3 home defeat to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia and an energy sapping 2-0 defeat at the hands of Al Ahly in a match that was played in Egypt.

They have only managed to collect a point following their one-all home draw against the Egyptian giants at Emagumeni three weeks ago. 

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