FC PLATINUM have been dealt a body blow in their quest to score their first goal in the Caf Champions League group stage, with striker Albert Eonde ruled out of their tie against Orlando Pirates on Friday.
The Cameroonian will not feature for the second time in a row after a bid to secure him a visa failed.
Eonde required a visa to travel to South Africa, which had to be obtained before he travelled, but FC Platinum’s frantic efforts to secure him one were unsuccessful yesterday and they were left with no choice but to leave him in Harare.
FC Platinum media liaison officer Chido Chizondo explained how they had started the process to secure a visa for Eonde, but failed.
“That was very unfortunate; we have been made to understand that North Africa and West African countries are required to apply for their visas seven days prior to travelling, which involves them going for an interview. It’s a very long process so we did not manage to meet the deadline for that particular process to bring Eonde to South Africa,” said Chizondo.
She also disclosed that they faced a minor challenge with Eonde when FC Platinum travelled to Guinea to play against Horoya last month, but the situation was attended to.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza had been hopeful that Eonde would make the trip to South Africa, but now has to change his plans.
Since Gift Mbweti and Charles Sibanda are not part of the squad which travelled, Mapeza’s frontline looks thin. The coach now has to look to the likes of veteran striker, Mkhokheli Dube, Thomas Chideu and Ali Sadiki.
FC Platinum have not scored in the four Champions League group stage fixtures so far, while their defence has been breached five times.
While the 20-year-old Eonde has not scored, he has displayed the forcefulness needed upfront.
“I think we have had a warm reception from the team from Orlando. We are at Garden Court Hotel, which is very comfortable. It’s raining, we didn’t expect the rains, but in African culture it means there are only good things ahead,” Chizondo said.
FC Platinum had a training session under floodlights at the Greek Sports Club, just a stone’s throw away from their hotel.
They will get a feel of Friday’s match venue, Orlando Stadium in Soweto, tomorrow (Thursday) evening, the night before they clash with the 1995 African Champions.
FC Platinum squad in South Africa
Petros Mhari, Francis Tizayi, Gift Bello, Kevin Moyo, William Stima, Elvis Moyo, Raphael Muduviwa, Godknows Murwira, Devon Chafa, Farai Madhanaga, Rainsome Pavari, Kelvin Madzongwe, Never Tigere, Ali Sadiki, Rahman Kutsanzira, Perfect Chikwende, Mkhokheli Dube, Lameck Nhamo, Thomas Chideu-Chronicle