Kawondera blow for FC Platinum

Midfielder Ralph Kawondera will be unavailable for his new club FC Platinum in the Caf Champions League group stage clash against Al Ahly of Egypt at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.

BY FORTUNE MBELE

The Soccer Star of the Year first runner-up played for Triangle in the Caf Confederation Cup this season, before crossing the floor to join the Zvishavane side at the start of this month.

Caf rules do not permit a player to feature in the two inter-club competitions in the same season.
FC Platinum assistant coach Lizwe Sweswe, whose side is winless in the African safari, yesterday confirmed the unavailability of their transfer window marque signing.

However, the other new arrivals Stanley Ngala and Last Jesi, who joined from Manica Diamonds and Nomore Chinyerere (formerly Hwange) are all available for the match.

“(Ralph) Kawondera is around and training with the others, but is cup-tied for the Caf Champions League at this stage. Ngala, Jesi and Chinyerere are available for the match,” Sweswe said.

FC Platinum will be looking for their first win in the group, having lost to Al-Hilal in Sudan, Etoile Sportive du Sahel and their opponents tomorrow.

The unavailability of Kawondera would further deplete the FC Platinum squad. The team recently parted ways with Mkhokheli Dube, Charles Sibanda, goalkeeper Wallace Magalane, Devon Chafa, Albert Eonde and Rodwell Chinyengetere.
The league champions are now coached by former Highlanders gaffer Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh, who was unveiled last week.

He takes over from Norman Mapeza, who left before the end of the season last year, with Sweswe finishing the term on an interim basis.

However, Sweswe is hopeful.

“We are just lacking that cutting edge. We are creating the chances, but not taking them. We still have the hope. We just have to win all our remaining matches,” Sweswe said.

Al Ahly were expected to train at the match venue yesterday.

Al Ahly coach Rene Weiler has travelled with a 21-member squad which includes midfielder Walid Suleiman, who notched a brace when they beat FC Platinum 2-0 in the reverse fixture on December 28.

However, the Egyptian giants will be without winger Hussein El-Shahat due to an injury.

The 28-year-old winger who joined the Reds last season has played 15 matches in all competitions, scoring eight goals.

Al Ahly will be fighting for their third victory in this match, as they occupy second place with six points in Group B.

“FC Platinum’s loss against Etoile du Sahel at home doesn’t mean they are a weak team, because the Zimbabwean champion were dominating the game. We will play the game as usual to get the three points,” Al Ahly’s assistant coach Sami Komsan said.

Tunisia’s Etoile Sportive du Sahel lead the group with six points, Al-Hilal of Sudan are third with also six points.

FC Platinum lie at the bottom of the group with no points.

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