Confederations of African Football (Caf) Orange Champions League representatives Motor Action will have five new players for their debut campaign in the continental competition.
Team owner Eric Rosen revealed that he was 80% close to finalising the list of 25 players and clinching deals with them, but could not reveal the names of the players ahead of today’s registration deadline.
“I am almost 80% there and am sure by tomorrow (Friday) we would have tied up everything to meet the deadline. At least five new players will be joining us, but I can’t give you the names as we are still finalising on some issues,” he said.
Motor Action will host fellow Champions League newcomers Cnaps of Madagascar who they face in the two sides, preliminary round, first leg match during the weekend of January 29-30 at Rufaro Stadium.
Speaking after the draw, coach Joey Antipas said: “As for Cnaps, we don’t know much about them but one thing we know is that Madagascar has a very competitive league.”
“And there is no way we are going to take them lightly.”
However, Antipas said he was confident Motor Action would hold their own. He said his team understood the pressure before them to emulate Zimbabwe’s most successful Champions League campaigners and city rivals Dynamos.
“Dynamos are of a different pedigree and have been in the competition for some time” the Bulls coach said.
Motor Action rivals Dynamos, whom they pipped to the league title on goal difference after a photo finish on 66 points each from their allotted 30 games, are on preliminary round bye. Dynamos await the winner of the preliminary stage tie between Real de Bangui of Central African Republic and Moloudia Club d’Alger of Algeria.
“For us, the Champions League opens new doors,” Antipas said.
“Our side is not a bad side but we will have to beef up so that we can hold our own in the competition.”
The Mighty Bulls were driven to their first championship in 11 years by the likes of Charles Sibanda, Bheki Ncube, Enasio Perezo, Marlon Jani and Allan Gahadzikwa, among others.
Dynamos secretary-general Oliver Manyau said they would also meet the deadline.
“We are finalising some issues, talking to players and we should register all 25 tomorrow (Friday).
“Ashley Rambanapasi is not around and that rules him out while we are in negotiations with those players whose contracts have expired.”
Although he could not reveal which players were likely to feature for Dynamos under new coach Lloyd Mutasa, sources said the Harare side was chasing the Highlanders duo of Zephaniah and Joel Ngodzo.
“They had expressed their willingness to join Dynamos but their agent is demanding too much money. So if we don’t get them by end of day today (Thursday), we will look elsewhere,” sources said.
Dynamos, ranked the 12th best team in Africa by Caf, were given a bye in 2011 edition of the African Champions League due to their good record in the competition.
The other teams that were given byes are defending champions TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia, Ittihad (Sudan), Stade de Malian (Mali), and Egypt’s Al Ahly and Sudan’s Al Hilal, where former Dynamos player Edward Sadomba plays.