LIBERTY Chakoroma, formerly of Ngezi Platinum, was the surprise inclusion in FC Platinum’s squad for the Caf Champions League which the Zvishavane side announced yesterday.
by HENRY MHARA
The league champions are desperate to make a mark in the African Safari, and have assembled what, on paper, looks a formidable squad.
They have added seven new players to the team, with stars raided from local rivals, while two have been brought in from abroad. FC Platinum, besides retaining the core of the team from last season, have also recalled a number of their players who were away on loan last year.
The list is headed by defensive midfielder Chakoroma, who is joining from rivals Ngezi Platinum.
The lanky player was at the centre of an ownership wrangle between Ngezi Platinum and Buffaloes, but it appears it’s FC Platinum who got their man.
He arrives at FC Platinum with invaluable experience in the African Safari having played for Ngezi Platinum in the Caf Confederations Cup last year.
The other notable player on the list is that of former Highlanders captain Rahman Kutsanzira, whose contract with Bosso expired last night.
Again, the midfielder has a wealth of experience having been around for a long time, playing for one of the biggest clubs in the country.
But coach Norman Mapeza bemoaned the lack of firepower upfront the whole of the campaign last year and he has gone abroad to strengthen the department by signing Zambian Shadreck Mayembe and Cameroonian Albert Eonde, who were both included in the list submitted to Caf last night.
The duo’s inclusion though means that players like Takesure Chinyama had to made way. The former Dynamos striker joined mid-season with a lot of expectations but failed to make any meaningful contribution, spending most of the time on the bench.
Defender Lawrence Mhlanga was also registered after his dispute with his former club Chicken Inn was sorted by Zifa who declared him a free agent some few days ago.
James Mukombwe also joined from Black Rhinos as well as Never Tigere who was with ZPC Kariba last season, as Mapeza looked to strengthen his defence with experienced defenders.
FC Platinum face Angolan giants Deportivo Lero Agosto in the preliminary round of their Caf Champions League campaign and get their campaign underway with a trip to Luanda during the weekend of February 9-11, before hosting their opponents the following weekend.
Should they overcome the Angolan champions, they will face the winner between South African side Bidvest Wits and Pamplemousse of Mauritius in the first round.
FC Platinum are looking to impress in the continent having failed to make an impact the few times they participated in the African safari.
They did not make it to the group stages of the Champions League 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 following a humiliating 5-1 aggregate defeat to Young Africans of Tanzania.
FC Platinum full squad
Goalkeepers: Francis Tizayi, Petros Mhari, Wallace Magalane, Collin Phiri
Defenders: Raphael Muduviwa, Jameson Mukombwe, Elvis Moyo, Kelvin Moyo, William Sitima, Gift Bello, Lawrence Mhlanga
Midfielders: Winston Mhango, Nqobizitha Masuku, Liberty Chakoroma, Never Tigere, Kelvin Madzongwe, Marshall Mudehwe, Hillary Bakacheza, Rahman Kutsanzira, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Bret Amidu, Ali Sadiki
Strikers: Mkhokheli Dube, Gift Mbweti, Albert Eonde, Shadreck Mayembe, Nigel Papias, Charles Sibanda