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By Mbekezeli Ncube
FC Platinum coach Hendriek Pieter De Jongh believes the only way the three times in a raw and current Zimbabwean premier league champions can excel in the CAF Champions League is when the whole country rallies behind them in the tough competition.
Pure Platinum Play as the Zvishavane based outfit is affectionately known, has participated in the last two segments of Africa’s elite football club competition, crashing in the group stages in both campaigns.
CAF Champions League will roar into life late November this year with the Zimbabwe champions locking horns with a yet to be known opponent in the preliminary rounds of the competition in their bid to book their ticket to the last 16.
The group stages will kick off mid-February 2021.
In an interview, De Jongh said for now, the team’s focus was to qualify for the group stages of the competition and they will take it from there as time goes on.
“We need support from everyone at the CAF Champions League. That is the only way to success and that will bring a great name to Zimbabwean football. Our main priority for now is to qualify for last 16 then we will take it from there,” said De Jongh.
The former Highlanders technical manager also expressed his desire for the authorities to give a go ahead for teams to start training in groups.
“Players train individually at home, we are waiting for the green light (from the government) that we could train as a team in the training grounds. The last time we did training as a team was back in 24 March which is a long time for a club which wants to win,” he said.
The Dutchman also said FC Platinum wants to join Highlanders and Dynamos in being the only clubs to have won the league title for four consecutive seasons.
“We as FC Platinum want to win everything which is normal because we are a big professional club. We have already won the Castle Challenge Cup (humbling his former paymasters Highlanders 2-0) and our focus is now on defending the league title,” De Jongh said.