Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
JUST over a year after he turned his back on continental inter-club football, Norman Mapeza is expected to make his return to Champions League in Mozambique tomorrow.
He leads FC Platinum into a tricky date against Costa do Sol in Maputo.
The platinum miners were expected to leave for Maputo last night, aboard a chartered plane, for the first leg of the preliminary round tie at the Estadio de Zimpeto.
Mapeza left FC Platinum,when they were on the verge of beginning the last African campaign, citing fatigue and the need to recharge his batteries.
However, he went on to have an interesting stint in South Africa, with Premiership side Chippa United, before an abortive move to newboys Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.
The former Zimbabwe international made a sensational return to Zvishavane last week, after the club found themselves in a crisis.
This followed the disqualification of Dutch coach Pieter de Jongh, by CAF, from not sitting on the bench in interclub competitions.
Ironically, when Mapeza left FC Platinum last year, the side were preparing to hosts a Mozambican outfit, UD Songo, in Beira.
The coach has had only a week to prepare with the team but the club have given themselves lofty targets, to go beyond the group stages, for the first time.
Mapeza has emphasised he has come to work and feels he is up for the challenge.
“It feels great, as you are aware, I have been here for quite some time and it’s good to see everybody again,’’ he said.
“Everyone is in good health and I have just come here to work.
“I still have to see what is on the ground. It’s difficult to set yourself some targets at the end of it but you have to work.
“You have to continue from where the guys left.
“As you are aware, we have a massive game over the weekend against Costa do Sol, so we have to be prepared.”
Mapeza yesterday asked his players to give him, at least 30 percent, of what they have been working on in the last three days.
He has been working with the team from Monday.
“If they give me just 30 percent of what we were working on, in the last three days, I will be a happy man.
“A lot has changed since I left the club, new players have also come in.
“I haven’t had enough time to have a definitive opinion of them but I am sure those who were here, during my time, have told them of my philosophy and what I expect from my players,” said Mapeza.
Of the 22 players, who made the trip to Maputo, six have no continental football experience.
FC Platinum Squad.
Petros Mhari, Francis Tizayi, Nomore Chinyerere, Perfect Chikwende, Donald Dzvinyai, Kelvin Madzongwe, Raphael Muduviwa, Brian Banda, Denzel Khumalo, William Stima, Gift Bello, Rahman Kutsanzira, Rainsome Pavari, Lawrence Mhlanga, Ralph Kawondera, Elias Maguri, Silas Songani, Evidence Tendayi, Illunga Elie, Gift Mbweti, Tawana Chikore, Future Sibanda