The Sunday Mail
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has refused to throw in the towel, despite seeing his charges go down 2-0 to Caf Champions League holders Esperance at the Stade Olympique d’El Menzeh on Friday.
“I don’t think we are out of the race this early in the competition, we just got derailed.
“We will get back on track, there is still four more games to play,” said Mapeza.
He said the way of doing business in such competitions was to make sure a team fully utilises its home advantage and push to get at least a draw on the road.
A win will just be a huge bonus.
They take on Horoya early next month, a game that has just been turned into a must-win if the dream of a quarterfinal appearance is to remain a reality.
“We now need to make full use of our home advantage, collect maximum points but that does not mean we are putting ourselves under pressure.
“We don’t want to do that,” he said.
He decried the collapse of their game plan against Esperance, who celebrated their 100 years of existence on January 15.
Muchina wemajuzi, as the reigning Coach of the Year was nicknamed during his illustrious footballing career, said their game plan was to close shop for the Tunisians and then catch them on a counter attack.
“We came here with a game plan, which was to shut the shop and then get them on the break.
“I think we did well in that regards but the final transition from the back to attack was missing, we could have done better.
“We also could have avoided unnecessary set pieces which we knew Esperance were good at and it was through such an eventuality that they finally got their second goal.
“Those are some of the areas we hope to work on, before our next game, “said Mapeza.
Moine Chaabani (Head coach, Esperance)
Securing the three points was our main objective in this second game. The FC Platinum defence was very tight and well-coordinated and we were expecting it to be this way. We chose to play faster on the ball and the first goal made our task easier. We continued with the same pace and it brought us the second goal. Our opponents posed no threat to us. We were well prepared to handle their counter attacks. We are on the right track with the four points we have so far.
Sameh Derbali (Defender, Esperance)
We are having some good days and I pray that we continue like this. After last week’s positive result, we managed to secure three points today. Despite the pitch condition and absence of fans, we were well focused and managed to accomplish the objective that we have set in mind and secure three points.