FC PLATINUM were yesterday handed Sofapaka of Kenya in the preliminary round of the 12th Caf African Confederations Cup, and the Premiership football team’s head coach Norman Mapeza immediately declared it a fair draw.
The pairings were made at the Caf headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.
According to the draw, FC Platinum will travel to Obadiah Tarumbwa’s former club first on the weekend of 13-15 February before the return leg in Zvishavane two weeks later. Mapeza yesterday said the draw was fine although he would have preferred to face a team from the neighbouring countries.
“I have watched a quite a number of Kenyan Premier League games on television and I must say they have a very competitive league. I know of teams such as Gor Mahia, AC Leopards and Sofapaka who I think play very good football. Sofapaka in particular are a good side and I know they have a few very good Congolese guys who play for the team,” said Mapeza.
Mapeza said his team’s objective in the competition is to reach the group stages.
“That would obviously be our target. At this stage we have to make realistic targets and I think the group stage would be fine for us, and if we reach that stage then we can start working on the next stage. Like I said, we got a fair opponent although I would have chosen a team from a neighbouring country because of the travelling logistics.
“The dates for the games are not very far so I think we have to start preparations early. The initial plan was to resume training on January 10 but I think we have to make adjustments to that and start early. We don’t have time,” said the former Warriors gaffer.
While the well-resourced side has managed to avoid regional giants Orlando Pirates at this stage, there is a huge possibility the two teams will collide in the next stages.
Just like the preliminary draw, the first and second-round draws are regionally based to reduce travel costs as prize money only applies to the group phases.
FC Platinum are returning to the competition after making their bow two years ago, just a year they were promoted into the Premier League. However, they were knocked out in the second round after losing 3-0 to El Merreikh of Sudan.
Then, under Rahman Gumbo, they swept past Swaziland’s Green Mamba beating them home and away.
On the other hand, Sofapaka, who had former Warriors striker Tarumbwa in their books last year for six months before selling him to South African Pretoria University for a reported $130 000, are not new in Caf club competitions.
Tarumbwa is now with relegated Bantu Rovers after his contract with the South African club was terminated.
Sofapaka, founded in 2002, won the Kenyan League title in 2009 to qualify for the Caf Champions League but they could not go beyond the preliminary stage. They had qualified for the Confed Cup the previous year but got disqualified before bouncing back into the competition in 2011 where they only went as far as the play-offs.
The club’s full name is a mouthful: Sote Kama Familia kwaPamoja Kuafikia Azimio Football Club (We as a family together to achieve a goal).
The club originates from the men’s fellowship of the MAOS Ministries Football Team founded in 2002, which took part in inter-church competitions. In 2004, businessman Elly Kalekwa took over the team and formed Sofapaka, and eventually joined the elite league.
Its nickname is Children of God and is in Confed Cup after winning the Kenya President’s Cup this season. They play their matches at the 5 000-seater Kenyatta Stadium in Nairobi. Alternatively, they have the Nyayo National Stadium-a 30 000-seater venue.
A total of 56 clubs were in the draw for the 2015 Confed Cup after eight were exempted from the preliminary round.
The exempted teams were ASEC Mimosas, Djoliba, FUS, AS Vita, Orlando Pirates, Ahli Shendi, Club Africain, Etoile du Sahel.
Caf Champions League winners receive $1,5 million (₤1,2 million) and runners-up $1 million while $660 000 goes to the Confederation Cup winners and $455 000 to the runners-up.
Caf Confederation Cup full draw
Sofapaka v FC Platinum, Khartoum (SUD) v Power Dynamos; CF Mounana (GAB) v Polisi (ZAN); URA (UGA) v Elgeco Plus (MAD), MC Alger v Sahel SC (NIG), RSB (MOR) vs Onze Createurs (MLI), Al Ittihad (LBY) vs Elect Sport (CHA), Ghazala (SSD) v Petrojet, Unisport du Haut Nkam (CMR) vs Olympique de Ngor (SEN), Hearts of Oak vs AS Police (BEN), ASO Chlef vs Kamboi Eagles (SLE), Horoya AC vs Fassel (LBR), Leones Vegetarianos (EQG) v Dolphins (NGA), Cote d’Or (SEY) vs Dedebit, RCB (BFA) vs Warri Wolves, Etoile du Congo (CGO) vs FC MK (DRC), Panthere du NDE (CMR) vs Rayon Sports (RWA), AS Togo Port de Lome (TOG) vs CARA (CGO), Bidvest Wits vs Royal Leopards (SWA); Petite Riviere Noire (MRI) vs Ferroviario da Beira (MOZ), Young Africans vs BDF XI (BOT), Benfica de Luanda vs Messager Ngozi (BUR), Volcan Club de Moroni (COM) vs Atletico Petroleos (ANG).
Caf Champions League full draw results:
Kaizer Chiefs vs Township Rollers, St. Michel vs Mamelodi Sundowns, Fomboni Club de Moheil vs Big Bullets, C.D Libolo vs SM Sanga Balende, Kampala CC vs Cosmos de Bafia, Azam vs Merrikh, Mbabane Swallows vs Zesco United, Sewe Sport vs AS Kaloum, USM Alger vs Foullah Edifice, AS Pikine vs Etoile Filante, Hilal vs KMKM, Lydia Ludic B.A vs Kabuscorp do Palancas, Sony de Ela Nguema vs Semassi de Sokode, MC Eulma v St George, East End Lions vs Asante Kotoko, Malakia vs Kano Pillars, Real de Banjul vs BYC, Raja vs Diables Noirs, Mangasport vs Bantu, Stade Malien vs AS GNN