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Early start for Platinum

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AFTER a short festive season, 2015 Caf Confederation Cup representatives FC Platinum get back to work on Thursday to prepare for the preliminary round, first leg against Sofapaka of Kenya.

WELLINGTON TONI
SPORTS EDITOR

The first leg will be played on Friday February 13 in Nairobi with the return leg set for Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane on Saturday 28 February.

Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo confirmed yesterday that the team will go into camp on January 8, leaving them with five weeks before they travel to East Africa.

The winners of the Chibuku Super Cup are Zimbabwe’s only team in Africa after Dynamos, the league champions, pulled out of the Caf Champions League due to financial problems.

Should the CG Msipa Charity Shield be confirmed next week, it will give Platinum, who named a 25-man squad last week for the Confederation Cup, further practice matches.

“The team will start preparations on January 8, but we will be able to advise on dates for CG Msipa Charity Shield or any other friendlies next week,” she said yesterday.

Last year’s competition, which Platinum won, featured Shabanie Mine, now back in the Central Region Division One league, Chapungu and Highlanders.

But as Platinum wait for coach Norman Mapeza to finalise his training schedule next week, other teams in the region have already concluded their programmes with Mamelodi Sundowns set to face Ali Sadiki’s DR Congo giants TP Mazembe, Don Bosco and Zambian champions Zesco United next week in Lubumbashi.

The Brazilians, who have four Zimbabweans on their books-Kuda Mahachi, Khama Billiat, Cuthbert Malajila and Esrom Nyandoro, have been drawn to face St. Michel from the Seychelles in the preliminary round of the Champions League.

From Platinum’s squad, about seven players have international experience with Zambian defender Aaron Katebe having been part of the Chipolopolo squad for the last two years.

Qadr Amini has played for the Young Warriors and the Warriors before a knee injury kept him on the sidelines for an entire season while Gift Bello played in the Champions League. Amini played for Platinum in the Champions League in 2012 together with Daniel Vheremu, who was the captain then.

Nelson Mazivisa and Donald Ngoma, who had trials in Sweden lat year, have featured for the Warriors before with the later having been part of the national team that finished fourth in the Chan finals in South Africa last year.

Veteran anchorman Thabani Kamusoko played in the Champions League with Dynamos while goalkeeper Petros Mhari was in the Confederation Cup with Hwange two seasons ago before making the switch to Zvishavane.

Young turks Elvis and Kelvin Moyo, new signing Emmanuel Mandiranga, Walter Musona and Wisdom Mutasa have been the with the Under 20 and 23 sides of late.

Meanwhile, Sofapaka have been allowed to sign up seven foreign players in their squad instead of the mandatory five in order to improve their performance in the Confederation Cup.

Kenya Football Federation media officer John Kariuki told the Daily Nation newspaper on Thursday said Sofapaka and Gor Mahia, who will play in the Champions League can now sign more foreigners to help bolster their squads.

“As the federation we are concerned that over the years our teams taking part in international tournament have not performed well.
“We need to see our teams go far in their continental qualifies that is why we have allowed Gor Mahia and Sofapaka to sign seven foreign players. This is in line with other teams in other countries that have succeeded.”

Sofapaka president Elly Kalekwa said the decision will enhance their chances.

“This is happening in England, Spain, Germany, Nigeria, Cameroon, DRC, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia where clubs have as many as 15 foreigners and have been successful,” Kalekwa said.

FC Platinum Caf Confederation Cup Squad
Goalkeepers: P Mhari, F Tizayi
Defenders: D Vheremu, Q Amini, R Mudhuviwa, A Katebe, G Bello, I Nekati, K and E Moyo
Midfielders: S Shoko, T Dzumbunu, W Mutasa, T Kamusoko, W Musona, B Muzondiwa, A Gahadzikwa, M Mudewe, W Kamudyariwa, R Sibanda
Strikers: O Chirwa, D Ngoma, N Maziwisa, N Papias, E Mandiranga

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