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#1 17-01-2019 23:23

Lieu : Tunisie
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Mapeza relieved to play during the day

Mapeza relieved to play during the day

FC Platinum players waiting to check in in Tunis

Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Tunis, Tunisia

FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has welcomed the decision to shift their Total Caf Champions League encounter against continental champions Esperance from evening to afternoon.

The Zimbabwean champions arrived in Tunis, Tunisia yesterday after an 18-hour flight for their Total Caf Champions League Group B match against holders Esperance tomorrow afternoon.

The match was initially set for 9PM Zimbabwean time but has since been shifted to 3pm.

“It’s a plus for us that we are playing in the afternoon. Had we played at night I think we were going to have some challenges because we are not used to playing at night, we have never played under floodlights,” said Mapeza before the team left Harare on Tuesday evening.

Pure Platinum Play, who held South African giants Orlando Pirates to a 0-0 draw in the group opener before a packed Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday, will face Esperance inside an empty stadium after Caf disciplinary committee handed them a two-game sanction where they will play behind closed doors as punishment for skirmishes that happened in the final.

Mapeza however did not see any advantage of playing the Tunisian giants in an empty stadium, describing the situation as similar to a training session since it will be “lacking that crowd vibe”.

“I don’t think there will be much of a difference really but for me it will be better to play with a crowd, that vibe when playing football will not be there so it will be more like a training session but there is nothing we can do about it,” said Mapeza.

Tunisia is a familiar territory for veteran striker Mkhokheli Dube who was part of the Highlanders squad that faced the Tunisians in the same competition.

“Some of the guys are competing at this level for the first time. I want to use my experience of this territory to help the team and make sure we progress to the next stage of the tournament,” said Dube whose goal back in 2003 in the first leg at Barbourfields Stadium stunned the fancied North African giants before a howler by goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini gifted them with a goal for a share of the points.

Meanwhile, The team whose head of delegation is Zifa Matabeleland South chairman Nkosilathi Ncube, flew out on an Emirates flight that took them to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Zambia before connecting straight to Dubai that saw them stay over for about two hours.


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