By Tawanda Tafirenyika
“#Zimbabwe” The Caf Champions League preliminary round second leg cash between FC Platinum and Nyasa Big Bullets of Malawi on Saturday, is a battle of wits between two of Zimbabwe’s best football coaches.
Former Warriors skipper Norman Mapeza is coaching Zimbabwe champions FC Platinum while former Dynamos midfielder and Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa is now in charge of Nyasha Big Bullets of Malawin with everything pointing to a potential thriller as they try to outwit each other
While the tie is tied at 0-0 seemingly giving FC Platinum an advantage as they play the second leg at their adopted home for this competition, Barbourfields, Mapeza is not taking anything for granted, particularly facing a side presided over by Pasuwa who knows everything about his opponents.
The Zimbabwe champions need nothing short of a victory to cruise through to the next stage after they played a goalless draw with the Kalisto Pasuwa-coached side in the first leg at Kamuzu Stadium a fortnight ago.
Emerging from their training session at the match venue on Friday, Mapeza said his boys had a splendid show in Malawi and what they have to do today is create chances and get goals to make the difference.
“From our last performance in Malawi the guys did very well. We just have to work on our finishing and creating chances and at the end of the day football is about results. If we don’t get the goals, it will count to nothing but we still have the same desire, same attitude to go out there and get a result on tomorrow,” Mapeza.
Attacking midfielder Rahman Kutsanzira and defender Lawrence Mhlanga have been ruled out of the crucial tie due to injuries while striker Rodwell Chinyengetere and mid-season signings Tawana Chikore and Evidence Tendai are not yet registered for the competition.
Mapeza has Cameroonian Albert Eonde, Lameck Nhamo, Mkhokheli Dube and Charles Sibanda as his attack options with midfielders Never Tigere, Rainsome Pavari, Kelvin Madzongwe and Devon Chafa to bank on.
“Everybody is aware of the challenges we are going to face on Saturday because we went to Malawi and managed to comeback with a nil-all result but I feel its game on. We are not yet out of the woods. We just have to work extra hard come Saturday for us to get a positive result,” he said.
If FC Platinum beat Nyasa Big Bullets they will face either UD Songo of Mozambique or Simba Stars of Tanzania, who also played to a goalless draw in the first leg tie two weeks ago at the Estádio do Ferroviário in Mozambique two weeks ago.
Simba Stars host UD Songo at Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium tomorrow in Tanzania in the second leg.
Pasuwa’s men trained in the afternoon at Barbourfields Stadium and Nyasa Big Bullets, who are without injured skipper John Lanjesi who however travelled with the squad with the former Zimbabwe Warriors and Dynamos gaffer banking on stand-in captain Chimango Kaira who had a good game in Malawi.
He also has strikers Bright Munthali, Patrick Phiri, Hassan Kajoke whom he will look at to try and hurt the home side.
Phiri and Kajoke are the provisional Malawi national team, The Flames squad to take part in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Flames’ striker Chiukepo Msowoya is also down with a hamstring injury.