NAIROBI, Kenya, February 15 – GOtv Shield champions Sofapaka began their CAF Confederations Cup on a losing note, going down 2-1 to visiting FC Platinum from Zimbabwe in a pulsating match played at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
Brian Muzondiwa, gave Platinum the lead on the 25th minute after receiving a defence splitting pass from Wisdom Mutasa but Burundian Abdul Razak Fistol restored parity in the second-half with a brilliant finish.
Donald Ngoma sealed the win for the Zimbabweans on the 74th to carry a two away goal advantage ahead of the return leg in a fortnight in Harare.
Sofapaka head coach Sam Timbe made four changes from the squad that lost 2-1 to Gor Mahia in the DStvSuperSport Cup, starting with Willis Ouma and Johnson Bagoole at the back whilst new signing Shafik Batambuze and Patrick Kagogo started in the midfield.
“We didn’t make use of our chances that we created and we were punished but I have not given up yet, if we play the same away we can have good results.
“At one time I saw a team from Zambia beat Simba 6-0 in Dar as-Salam and when they went to Zambia Simba equalised and went through after extra time so I believe we can make it,” Timbe said after the match.
His opposite number Norman Mapeza said, “I’m proud with the boys, most of them are still young so they need this exposure and with this confidence we are moving in the right direction.”
The hosts showed early intentions with Ekaliana Ndolo starting a build up from the left to feed Kagogo who played one-two with Razak but Platinum keeper Petros Mhari narrowed the post to see the former’s effort go inches wide.
Batoto Ba Mungu continued to raid on the visitors defence with Ekaliana Ndolo, Kagogo, and Razak combining well but the latter could not find the back of the net in the 13th as his free header in the box went wide.
Sofapaka were punished moments later when Mutasa won the ball in the midfield to find Muzondiwa who powered Bagoole and place the ball beyond keeper David Okello for the opener.
Razak and Enock Agwanda piled pressure on Platinum’s edge in search of the equaliser but they blazed their shots wide to head at the break trailing.
Timbe charges started the last half on a high and it only took two minutes for Razak to put Sofapaka back in the game after maximizing Ngoma’s miscued clearance to smash home the equaliser.
The goal motivated Sofapaka who continued to threaten through Razak and Agwanda but Mhari denied them after making remarkable saves.
The host’s defence was caught off guard with a quarter an hour left to full-time to enable Ngoma seal the victory for the visitors when skipper Felly Mulumba missed Walter Musona’s cross to find him unmarked and beat Okello.