20 January 2019

Zimbabwe: FC Platinum Fire Blanks in Champions League

Zimbabwean football champions FC Platinum's impotent strike force has come under scrutiny yet again after failing to record a shot on target in their first Caf Champions League group stage 2-0 loss to giants Esperance in Tunisia on Friday.

FC Platinum have now failed to score a goal in more than 270 minutes of Champions League football since William Stima's first round first leg strike away to Congolese side AS Otoho D'yo.

Following the recent defeat, FC Platinum now rank third in Group B with a single point, three behind leaders Orlando Pirates and their conquerors Esperance who have the same number of points.

Horoya Athletic Club from Guinea anchor the standings with as many points as FC Platinum, but the former have an inferior goal difference after they fell 3-0 away to Orlando Pirates.

The next round of fixtures should be interesting with FC Platinum hosting Horoya, while the top two teams clash in South Africa in two weeks' time.

But worrying in this campaign has been Pure Platinum Play's lack of goals compounded by the loss of their top marksman in the past couple of years Rodwell Chinyengetere.

Chinyengetere joined South African side Baroka FC at the end of last season.

Against Esperance, FC Platinum using 35-year-old striker Mkhokheli Dube and Rainsome Tavari upfront while Gift Mbweti played in a wide position, managed just three shots the entire match.

Even the introduction of Cameroonian forward Albert Eonde did little to impact the FC Platinum's firepower or lack thereof.

FC Platinum are yet to score a goal in the lucrative group stages after they played out a goalless draw at home to Pirates last weekend.

At least against Pirates the team showed a lot of impetus recording 12 shots, two of them on target in a rather promising showing with Dube as the lone striker.

The Norman Mapeza-coached two-time Zimbabwean champions have found the target three times in six matches so far in the Champions League and are yet to score two goals in a match this campaign.

Farai Madanhanga scored FC Platinum's first goal in the preliminary round away draw against CNaPS in Madagascar before Chinyengetere ensured progress with a solitary strike in the return fixture at Mandava.

Stima netted Platinum's last goal in Congo, in the first round first leg fixture four matches ago.

With veteran forward Lameck Nhamo yet to discover the scoring touch that made him a cult hero at Triangle last season, Mapeza is getting increasingly desperate for a goalscorer.

The former Warriors coach will need to sort out his attack in time for the home tie against Horoya to entertain any hope of progressing beyond the group stages.

After Horoya, the Zimbabwean champions will travel to Guinea for the reverse fixture slated for February 14 before visiting Pirates early March before winding up their group campaign with a home match against Esperance.

Only two teams from the four groups will progress to the quarter-final stage of the competition.

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