Zim CAF Champions League reps booted out

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Tadious Manyepo

Harare - Zimbabwe's CAF Champions league representatives, FC Platinum, are out of the premium continental tournament following their 1-1 group stage home draw against Egyptian giants Al Ahly last week.

There are still two games before the group stage business conclude but Platinum have fallen too far off the leading pack and even if they are to win both, they will still bow out.

They have collected a single point from their opening four games in a group that has three powerhouses, Al Ahly, Etoile du Sahel as well as Al-Hilal of Sudan.

They will face Etoile du Sahel away before they host Al-Hilal in their last game.

The Zimbabwean champions have since taken on board Dutch coach Hendrikus Pieter De Jongh who will be assisted by Lizwe Sweswe.

Sweswe has been in charge of the club since the departure of Norman Mapeza, who is now at resurgent South African side Chippa United.

Sweswe said FC Platinum's exit, their second in as many seasons, was down to inadequate experience in the African safari.

"The team did well and we will obviously thrive to do very well in our remaining games. We still have our pride to play for. We played very well in the first four games but we lacked the much-needed experience to break down our opponents," said Sweswe.

"We still have two more games to play. We have a reputation to protect so we will obviously fight for our name, for our brand.

"We are in a very difficult group. It's a group with the best teams in Africa but we have put in a good fight and we will continue fighting.

"We have been picking a lot of valuable lessons in this group and I think we will be able to do well in the remaining two games." 

FC Platinum, though, will make an immediate return to the same competition next season after they won the Zimbabwean championship again last month. 

Sweswe hopes they will do well next season. 

"I am glad we will be back with another chance next season. We have to do well. We have picked valuable lessons. We will be in Africa to compete. We are glad we were able to win the league again and secured another dance in the CAF Champions league." 

While FC Platinum were effectively booted out, another Southern African side, Mamelodi Sundowns, secured their place in the quarter-finals of the same competition. 

The South African side beat USM Alger of Algeria to secure their place in the next round with two games to spare. 

 

 

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