The Sunday Mail
TRIANGLE coach Taurai Mangwiro has set his sights on reaching the mini-league stage of the Confederation Cup competition but his Chiredzi outfit will get a hint of their pedigree when they plunge into their maiden continental football adventure with a clash against Burundi visitors Rukinzo at Barboufields this afternoon.
Mangwiro is no stranger to the competition as he had his first crack at African football in 2009 with the now defunct Monomotapa when he was Rodwell Dhlakama’s understudy.
ln 2016, he had his first taste of the Confederation Cup with Harare City, although they were booted out in the first round of the competition by Zanaco of Zambia via a 5-2 aggregate defeat.
Now, the 42-year-old gaffer is ready to correct those blemishes as he leads Triangle in their debut campaign.
“As a coach, I have been in the African Safari first at Monomotapa where we reached the mini-league stages and again with Harare City. I spent seven years with the Under-20 national teams, so personally I can’t say I am short of experience when it comes to continental football.
“With such kind of experience, this is not a learning curve anymore. What I have demanded from my team is a mini-league stage target.
“I have told my players that opportunities like these may come once in life, so they have to utilise them,” Mangwiro said.
With their fortress Gibbo not suitable for CAF competitions, Triangle have been forced to use an alternative stadium. They have since chosen Barboufields.
“We would have loved to play at Gibbo but all the same, we have to be content with playing at Barboufields.
“I believe it won’t be a challenge for my players as they have played there on numerous occasions,” he said.
With the bulk of his players readying for their debut African experience, Mangwiro believes his experience in continental football has been handy in psyching up his charges.
“We have a number of players who are set for their maiden appearance at the continental competition. This comes with some stage fright but I have told them to loosen up.
“I believe they can overcome the stage fright and come up with a good result,” said Mangwiro.
With little information available on their opponents, Mangwiro hopes his charges will utilise home advantage as they seek to kick-off the campaign on a high note.
“We do not know much about them. However, we know that they finished sixth in a sixteen team league, hence we are targeting a solid start at home so that we will not play under pressure in the return leg. We have to do whatever is possible to get a positive result,” Mangwiro said.