Chido Chizondo

Esperance return to Zimbabwe after 16 years

Fungai Muderere 

AFRICAN football giants Esperance make a return to Barbourfields Stadium after 16 years for their Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League Group B match against FC Platinum on Saturday.

The Tunisians last made the trip to Bulawayo in 2003 and many Zimbabwean football enthusiasts will remember the Tapuwa Kapini howler that saw him “donate” a goal to Esperance when Highlanders were leading 1-0.

Interestingly, Bosso had got their goal from Mkhokheli Dube, a player who now does duty for Pure Platinum Play.

“We are excited to end our African Safari campaign with a match against African giants. We look forward to learn a lot from Esperance as we prepare to embark on another campaign in this inter club competition,” said FC Platinum media liaison officer Chido Chizondo.

While it is true that Esperance have more experience in this competition, it remains to be seen if Norman Mapeza’s men will reproduce the top drawer performance that saw them play a two all draw against Orlando Pirates last Friday in a match where they at some point led 2-0 before the hosts fought back.

Platinum have hosted Orlando Pirates and Horoya at Emagumeni in this campaign and they come back “home” seeking to post their first win in Group B having posted two draws and lost  three matches.

The platinum miners will miss the services of the instrumental trio of Kelvin Madzongwe, Kevin Moyo and stocky forward Lameck Nhamo.

Madzongwe and Moyo are on suspension while Nhamo, who never made the trip to South Africa, is still in the treatment room.

FC Platinum can no longer qualify for the quarter-finals, but after this experience in the group stages, they are reportedly targeting the knock-out stages in the next edition of the African Safari, which begins in August.

The Zvishavane side which emerged as the whipping boys of Group B of the 2018-19 Caf Champions League group stages sits at the bottom of the table with two points.