Orange Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League debutants FC Platinum have regrouped to kick-start preparations for the 2012 football season.
The platinum miners, who begin their Champions League campaign with a preliminary round first leg date with Swazi champions Green Mamba away at Somhlolo Stadium on February 19, regrouped yesterday and are expected to hold their first training session today.
Although without revealing their pre-season itinerary, coach Rahman Gumbo yesterday confirmed they were back from the festive holidays and getting down to serious business.
“Yes, we are now back from the holidays and I am just coming in right now. We are regrouping today (yesterday) and everyone should be here today.
We are having our first training session tomorrow (today). As I have said, I have just arrived so our pre-season programme would only be released tomorrow (today),” said Gumbo.
But NewsDay Sport understands Platinum are planning to go for a month-long camp in the resort town of Kariba before they play South African top-flight league clubs in international friendlies.
The South African league took a break just before Christmas and will resume after the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Club management has also preferred to keep it a secret when renovations at Mandava Stadium would be complete, but president Nathan Shoko hinted at adopting Shabanie’s Maglas Stadium.
“We will cross the bridge when we get there. If we fail to meet the Caf deadline, we should know Zvishavane has hosted continental football before,” Shoko said at a Press conference at the club’s season-end awards last month.
Renovations at the stadium, which was overwhelmed by a huge crowd when Platinum hosted Dynamos in the penultimate league encounter, are expected to be complete before the Champions League and to meet Caf requirements.
The Zvishavane side, eager to make an impression in the continental club football contest, went shopping in December where they scooped some of the country’s best players.
In came former Highlanders captain Gilbert Banda and his ex-teammate at Bosso Louis Matawu.
The platinum miners snapped 2011 Soccer Star of the Year second runner-up Allan Gahadzikwa in a bid to bolster their midfield which also now has veteran Rowan Nenzou from Shabanie Mine.
Platinum also raided the Gunners camp for Young Warriors skipper Quadr Amini, Ali Sadiki and Mitchell Katsvairo.
Norman Maroto, Itayi Gwandu, Menard Mupera and Bhekimpilo Ncube are some of the players who have been omitted from the Champion League squad.