FC PLATINUM have lined up three friendly matches against Southern African clubs as they up their preparations for the Caf Champions League.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The platinum miners kick off their campaign in the first week of next month with an away match in their first leg encounter of the preliminary round against Desportivo Lero Agosto of Angola.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions have tentatively set dates for friendlies with Zambian giants Zanaco on January 27 and Nkana FC on January 31 at Barbourfields Stadium before taking on Ferroviário from Mozambique at Mandava on February 3.
FC Platinum have been in a closed camp in Bulawayo since Tuesday last week where they have been training at Busters Sports Club.
They opened their doors for the media yesterday.
Coach Norman Mapeza confirmed the friendly matches.
“We have some friendly matches which have been lined up by the club. We have about three games. I heard we are going to play against Zanaco and Nkana, then Ferroviário from Mozambique. I also heard that we might play another team from Malawi, but that deal is not yet concluded. Those are the friendly matches that we will play before our first Caf Champions League game,” he said.
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Mapeza said they were targeting group stages of the Champions League.
They have little information about their first opponents in the competition.
“We don’t know much about the club that we are playing. We have just been reading about them on the internet. What I know is that they have won the league in Angola more than eight times. They are a strong team. They are backed by the army. I know the challenges we are going to face when we go to Angola. They have participated in the Caf Champions League four times or so, but have not done really well, but they have been preparing for this match seriously.”
Mapeza expressed satisfaction with the fitness levels of his players despite that they are off-season.
“We have just been working on the endurance levels of the team and so far so good and I am happy. We gave the players a programme to follow when they left for the festive season and I think everybody did that and when they came back they were looking sharp,” he said.
They presented their new signings Cameroonian Albert Eonde and Zambian Shadreck Mayembe and locals Jimmy Tigere, Jameson Mukombwe, Rahman Kutsanzira, Farai Madanhanga and Kelvin Madzongwe.