FLAMBOYANT Zimbabwean football champions FC Platinum are preparing to launch bids for Highlanders captain Rahman Kutsanzira as well as Ngezi Platinum fullback and 2017 Soccer Star of the Year finalist Qadr Amini, as they prepare for the Caf Champions League campaign next year.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza, mindful of the need to strengthen his squad, is also targeting highly-rated Zimbabwe Under-20 striker Delic Alfornce Murimba, who turns out for relegated Hwange.
Murimba is part of the Under-20 squad that left for Zambia yesterday for the regional Cosafa tournament.
But it is the planned raid of Bosso and Ngezi Platinum dressing rooms that demonstrates their seriousness in moulding a squad that can compete at the top level.
Informed sources said this week, apart from the trio, Mapeza has also identified Ngezi Platinum midfielder Liberty Chakoroma as a direct replacement for Gerald Takwara.
Takwara will be leaving for South Africa to join Ajax Cape Town in the January transfer window after impressing during trials.
“FC Platinum have targeted some players from Ngezi Platinum, Qadr Amini and Liberty Chakoroma. There is also interest in Highlanders midfielder Rahman Kutsanzira and initial moves have already been made. Another player who has also attracted Mapeza’s interest is Murimba from Hwange. The coach doesn’t want to upset the balance of his team. While he wants experience at this stage of the campaign, he is also trying to blend with youth,” the source said.
Kutsanzira will be a free agent at the end of the month as his contract with Highlanders expires on December 31.
Club spokesperson Chido Chizondo, however, said she was not aware of the targeted players, but promised to make an announcement once there were any signings.
FC Platinum might also recall some of their players whom they had loaned to other clubs including Ishmael Wadi, who was playing for Bulawayo City, and exciting forward Nigel Papius, who featured for relegated Bantu Rovers.
Midfielder Cleophas Kapupurika, who has been starring for Harare giants Dynamos, is also one of their players on loan.
This will be the second time FC Platinum will be playing in the Caf Champions League after they failed to make it to the group stages in their maiden appearance in 2012 after falling to Al-Merreikh of Sudan.
In 2015, they played in the Caf Confederation Cup tournament, but their performance wasn’t any better.
Mapeza’s men bowed out in the first round despite edging Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the return leg played at Mandava Stadium.
Having suffered a 5-1 loss in Tanzania, a 1-0 win in Harare meant they exited the tournament on a 5-2 aggregate loss.
They will, however, be aiming to improve from that performance this time around.
They will, perhaps, be looking at emulating Caps United, who defied the odds this year to reach the lucrative group stage of the tournament for the first time in their history under the guidance of Lloyd Chitembwe, in the process beating fancied five-time African champions TP Mazembe.
In the group stages, they had a decent run, where they beat giants Zamalek of Egypt and USM Alger (Algeria) even though they failed to progress further.