ZIMBABWE’S representatives in the 12th edition of the Caf Confederation Cup FC Platinum started their pre-season training yesterday ahead of the continental club football competition.
They are making a return to Africa after playing in the Caf Champions League in 2012 where they reached the second round under Rahman Gumbo.
This time they will confront the continent’s big boys under the tutelage of former Warriors skipper Norman Mapeza who is no stranger to the African jungle having been previously the head coach of the national team.
The miners will have a month preparing for their first continental assignment as they are scheduled to start their African journey on February 13.
New signings Emmanuel Mandiranga, Brian Muzondiwa and Wellington Kamudyariwa reported for duty on the first day of training yesterday together with forward Nigel Papias.
Walter Musona, Wisdom Mutasa, Tatenda Dzumbunu and Obrey Chirwa were also at training with seniors Daniel Vheremu, Donald Ngoma, Qadr Amini, Nelson Maziwisa, Thabani Kamusoko, Petros Mhari and Gift Bello were also part of the team in the first workout.
“We started our pre-season today (yesterday). The technical department had a meeting with the players and everything is now in order as they are all ready.
“Everyone is happy to be back and they are raring to go. All the players we were expecting to be here have reported for duty. Aaron (Katebe) is yet to report for duty he is still with his country’s national team,” the club’s media liaison officer, Chido Chizondo said.
Katebe was not included in the final Chipolopolo squad and will rejoin Platinum on Monday.
Some squad members who missed out on Mapeza’s initially 25 man squad handed to Caf on the 31st of December last year has a chance to impress Mapeza in the next few days as he can still add five more players by January 15.
Players like James Marufu, Ashley Mukwenya and Tarisai Rukanda are amongst those who have reported for duty who are not part of the initial 25 man squad.
“The coach is still assessing players and might add other few names to the squad before the 15th,” said Chizondo.
Meanwhile, their opponents in the preliminary round Sofapaka of Kenya had a false start to their pre-season ahead of the competition.
The financially troubled club’s President Elly Kalekwa earlier called on the government to give them financial assistance as they will be representing the country in the African Safari.
Batoto ba Mungu, as Sofapaka are affectionately known, have already started their pre-season but are without their Ugandan head coach Sam Timbe until January 20 as he is in his home country for personal reasons.
“I have genuine reasons why I would join the team that late and everybody at the club is aware. I left transfer business to club President and he has done what we asked to be done as the technical bench we shall be ready to work by then. I have faith in my assistant David Ouma to start off the pre-season well,” Timbe said in an interview from Kampala with