TOTAL Caf Champions League group stage debutants FC Platinum return home this afternoon from yet another unsuccessful trail in the African safari where they were humbled 2-0 by Horoya in Conakry, Guinea, on Tuesday.
This was the fourth straight game in which FC Platinum, not only failed to win, but score, which is a worrying statistic by any standard.
The players head back to their base in Zvishavane where they will start preparing for another away game against Orlando Pirates next month.
Questions have been asked about what the team did to carry such a bad record.
It’s their debut journey in the group stages of the tournament where they were drawn against 1995 winners Orlando Pirates, last season’s quarter-finalists Horoya and defending Champions Esperance of Tunisia.
Their statistical performance has shown a team capable of performing better, so where did they derail?
From engagements with officials and others, it appears as a nation we might need to embrace nationhood and rise above petty club rivalries when it comes to such continental tournaments.
In Tunis, for example, we were told that when a team is participating in a continental tournament, rival sides don’t hesitate to loan out some of their top players.
Even fans appreciate the bigger picture as was witnessed in Owando, Congo Brazzaville.
The team FC Platinum played against, Otoho’s home ground was condemned, forcing them to seek refuge elsewhere, but locals there were fully behind Otoho on match day.
While football fans are free to support a team of their choice, one though feels national pride must supercede such loyalty.
Had the packed Barbourfields Stadium rallied behind FC Platinum when the South African giants invaded Bulawayo, maybe the result would have been different, as the home side would really have been psyched up.
The support though was rendered fully when Horoya played in Bulawayo, but it was just 4 000 fans compared to the bumper crowd that cheered the Sea Robbers on.
A Tunisian journalist said when it comes to continental games, they all unite and when a team is approached for a player or two by the participating team, it never thinks twice.
He said although it would just be a team participating, its composition almost resembles a national team.
The glory of succeeding might go to the individual team, but the bigger beneficiary will be the nation.
So as FC Platinum approach their last two games in the group stages, there is need for a paradigm shift in how we approach continental club competitions as a country for the benefit of our football.
Previously, national anthems were sung before the start of these matches, but the exercise was done away with upon realisation that a team could be having players of different nationalities, but the ritual of raising the hosting association and country flags still happens, which is an indication that nationhood must supercede club rivalry. Chronicle