Sikhumbuzo Moyo in Brazzaville, Congo
FC PLATINUM were forced to abort plans of travelling to Owando State from Brazzaville after the Congolese football authorities failed to provide an invitation letter for the processing of visas upon arrival at Maya Maya Airport yesterday.
The league champions had to make contingency plans of putting up in Brazzaville, instead of Owando State where Sunday’s Caf Champions League match against AS Otoho will be held.
“When we got here the authorities told us that they needed an invitation letter from the local Football Association for them to process our visas before proceeding to Owando. The letter was not there and hence we could not proceed. By the time that the letter eventually came, the plane had already left and we therefore had to put up here while our visas are being processed,” said the FC Platinum communications officer, Chido Chizondo.
As if that was not enough, a shuttle bus that picked the delegation from the airport was suddenly nowhere to be seen to ferry the players for a training session as arranged earlier, forcing the club to hire nine taxis to players to the training ground. The horror reception extended to the training ground, which had long grass and unsuitable for any workout.
“Normally it takes about two weeks to apply for an entry visa to Congo Brazzaville, but due to the congested Caf fixture that was impossible, but the FA promised that we will get the visas upon our entry. Somehow they then did not provide us with an invitation letter as required hence this predicament we are in now”.
As a result coach, Norman Mapeza had to immediately request for a training venue in Brazzaville, as they seek to stop Otoho’s seeming invincibility at home where they are yet lose a match since January 2017.
Mapeza travelled with a squad of 20 players minus Winston Mhango, who has reportedly gone AWOL amid unconfirmed reports that he is seeking a new home in Zambia.
The steely holding midfielder disappeared from Zvishavane soon after the team returned from Madagascar where they drew 1-1 with CNaPS in the preliminary round. He missed FC Platinum’s Super Cup clash against Triangle United as well as the return leg against the Malagasy side. In Mhango’s absence, Mapeza can juggle around the trio of 2018 Soccer Star of the Year finalist Farai Madhanaga, Kelvin Madzongwe and Devon Chafa.
Captain Petros Mhari will guard the goal, while Gift Bello and Lawrence Mhlanga will partner in the heart of defence after Soccer Star of the Year second runner-up Kevin Moyo did not recover in time for the trip. Accompanying the platinum miners is club president, George Mawere, chairman Evans Mthombeni and Worthwhile Mugabe. Hastings Makunda is the head of delegation.
FC Platinum travelling squad
Petros Mhari, Francis Tizayi, Gift Bello, Lawrence Mhlanga, Elvis Moyo, William Stima, Raphael Muduviwa, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Farai Madhanaga, Devon Chafa, Kelvin Madzongwe, Rainsome Pavari, Never Tigere, Marshal Mudehwe, Charles Sibanda, Lameck Nhamo, Gift Mbweti, Albert Eonde, Mkhokheli Dube, Thomas Chideu