Hwange Football Club are stepping up preparations for their maiden dance with the Caf Confederation Cup with two friendly matches against two top South African sides Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars at the weekend.
The coalminers date Absa Premiership champions Pirates at the Rand Stadium on Saturday and take on Platinum Stars in Rustenburg the following day. Platinum play Africa Cup of Nations-bound Ghana at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium today.
Technical manager and 2011 Castle Lager Premiership Coach of the Year Tennant Chilumba yesterday said the aim was not to win, when they are in South Africa, but for the players to get exposure, especially playing away from home.
Our aim is not to go and win, but to go and learn. We are playing big teams, who are also on the African safari. It will be good friendly matches.
We will be working on our formation when we play outside the country and we just have to be focused from the word go, Chilumba said.
Chilumba paid tribute to the Hwange executive for the weekend South Africa excursion, saying it would be very beneficial to the team as they venture into their second appearance on the African safari after making their debut in 1992 in the then Cup Winners Cup.
I would like to give credit to the executive for the friendly matches, exposing us to one of the biggest clubs on the continent. We will be playing our first Caf competition in the new millennium and it will be good for us. We are still trying to get information about our opponents in Zanzibar, Chilumba said.
Chipangano, who came fourth on the 2011 Castle Lager Premiership log standings to book a place in the Confederation Cup, take on little-known Jamhuri of Zanzibar on the weekend of February 17-19 before the return leg at the Colliery a fortnight later.
Players to watch who have been registered for the Confederation Cup include 2011 Footballer of the Year finalist Nkosana Siwela, veteran striker Gilbert Zulu, goalkeeper Timothy Sibanda and former Absa Premiership Bidvest Wits defender Obert Moyo.
Hwange also boast defender David Boriwondo, Malvern Longwe, Blessing Sande, Allan Tavarwisa, Tawanda Mareya and Evans Rusike.
Midfielders Farai Vimisayi and Daniel Kamunhenga, who have continental football experience with Dynamos and Mwana Africa respectively, are also part of the Chipangano squad.