By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
After declaring their readiness to take on Angola’s Clube Desportivo Primeiro de Agosto in the Total Caf Champions League preliminary round first leg encounter this coming weekend, FC Platinum moves to Harare from Bulawayo on Wednesday en route to Luanda.
The Zvishavane-based side played their last of the three international friendly matches against Zambia’s Nkana at Mandava Stadium on Saturday that ended 0-0, which left coach Norman Mapeza satisfied that the preparatory matches had gone a long way in fine-tuning his boys.
FC Platinum have been camping in Bulawayo since last month, as part of their acclimatisation programme since weather conditions in the City of Kings are almost similar to Luanda’s.
They played and beat Mozambique’s Ferroviário 1-0 in their first friendly, but lost 0-4 to Zambia’s Zanaco in their second match. However, Mapeza said the games were not about results, but fine- tuning his squad.
The league champions are confident of reaching their set target of a group stage qualification.
The final travelling squad is set to be announced this afternoon, according to Mapeza.
“We will likely name the guys we are travelling with on Monday,” he said on Saturday following their 0-0 draw against Nkana at Mandava Stadium.
Indications though are that all players that were in the team against the Zambians will make it to Angola. The side that drew against Nkana consisted of tried and tested veterans, who made history by becoming the first side from outside Bulawayo or Harare since 1966 to lift the topflight league title.
Judging by the way they played on Saturday, Mapeza is hoping to catch the Angolans on the counter and get that all important away goal before finishing them off back home a week later.
If FC Platinum can overcome the Angolans, they will face either Bidvest Wits of South Africa or Mauritanian outfit Pamplemousses in the second and final round of the group stage qualifiers.
Probable FC Platinum travelling squad
Wallace Magalane, Rapheal Muduviwa, Gift Bello , Kevin Moyo, Elvis Moyo, Winston Mhango, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Never Tigere, Rahman Kautsanzira, Ali Sadiki, Charles Sibanda Mkhokheli Dube, Lawrence Mhlanga Tatenda Mudehwe, Petros Mhari, Farai Madananga, Jameson Mukombwe, William Stima, Kevin Madzongwe, Brett Amidu