ZIMBABWE champions FC Platinum have been dealt a huge blow ahead of their Confederations of African Football Champions league preliminary round clash against CNaPs of Madagascar next week after influential midfielder Rahman Kutsanzira was ruled out due to a knee injury.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
Kutsanzira had been named in coach Norman Mapeza’s 20-men squad due to depart for Madagascar on Monday.
However, the knee injury has forced Mapeza to drop the veteran midfielder for the trip.
The former Highlanders skipper joins Ali Sadiki and goalkeeper Wallace Magalane, who also failed to make the squad due to injury.
Magalane is currently undergoing physiotherapy after sustaining a shoulder injury last month, while Sadiki has been struggling off the field.
But it is Kutsanzira who will be solely missed by the reigning champions as they bid to make a mark in the prestigious African Football Club competition.
Usually, without his power and influence, FC Platinum struggle.
FC Platinum media liaison officer Chido Chizondo confirmed the development, but could not disclose who would take up his place.
“The squad is going to change. Rahman has an injury, so he will not be travelling, but I am not yet sure who is going to take his place,” she said.
FC Platinum have set their eyes on reaching the lucrative group stage of the African Champions League after a disappointing campaign last time when they crashed out at the hands of Angolan Champions de Agosto.
They were also booted out by Young Africans of Tanzania in the second-tier Caf Confederation Cup tournament.
However, the champions believe they have learnt lessons from those experiences and are now looking to redeem themselves in this campaign.
Mapeza has done well since he started his coaching career, which has seen him winning three league titles, first with Monomotapa before back-to-back championship wins with FC Platinum.
It’s the first time in the modern era of the Premier League that a team from outside Harare and Bulawayo has won back-to-back championships.
Only, Dynamos, Caps United and Highlanders have managed that feat.
However, Mapeza will have to provide a convincing case of his credentials this time around as he plunges into the African safari.
He will be seeking to emulate Harare giants Caps United, who reached the group stage of the inter club competition in 2017.
It was also the first time for the Green Machine to reach that stage in the campaign.