Zimbabwe’s Caf Champions League representatives will wait with bated breath to discover their opponents in the group stage of the competition, with the draw set to be conducted in Egypt today.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA
FC Platinum have been placed in pot four and will draw TP Mazembe, Esperance Tunis, Wydad Casablanca or Al Ahly of Egpyt from pot one.
From pot two, they could pick out former champions Mamelodi Sundowns, AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Horoya or Club Africain of Tunisia.
Pot three contains Ivory Coast’s Asec Mimosas, Orlando Pirates, and the Algerian pair of CS Constantine and JS Soura.
FC Platinum will be expecting a tough draw, especially with both pot one and two containing some of the continent’s super powers and former champions.
Each group will contain four teams, with the top two progressing to the quarter-finals.
Probably the best case scenario would be for FC Platinum to draw TP Mazembe, Horoya and JS Soura and the worst case would be for them to be placed in a group that contains current champions Esperance Tunis, Sundowns and Asec Mimosas.
Whatever happens, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza knows that his team faces a tough draw and their main concern would probably be the travelling, where they would want less of the North African trips.
The group stages will run between January 11 and March next year. FC Platinum have said that they will not go into the groups just to make numbers, but want to leave a lasting impression on the tournament.
“In terms of competing, we are ready. We are not in the group stages just to add numbers, but we need to make our presence felt,” club chairman Evans Mtombeni said.
“We are going to review with the technical team the four games we played in the Champion’s League and see if there are any recommendations that will be made to spruce up our team for the next stage.
“We need to give our team a new impetus as we go into the demanding group stages and also be ready for the new level of competition.
“The group stages are on spotlight because most of the games are televised and the following is huge, so, definitely, no one would want to be on the spotlight for the wrong reasons. It is how we are going to work as a team that will shape what we get in the group stage.”
Pot 1: Esperance Tunis, Al Ahly, TP Mazembe, Wydad Casablanca
Pot 2: Sundowns, AS Vita, Horoya, Club Africain
Pot 3: Asec Mimosas, Orlando Pirates, CS Constantine, JS Soura
Pot 4: Ismaily, Lobi Stars, Simba, FC Platinum