ZIMBABWE’S representatives in the 12th edition of the Caf Confederation Cup, FC Platinum, started their pre-season training yesterday ahead of the continental club competition.
They are making a return to Africa after playing in the Caf Champions League in 2012 where they reached the second round under Rahman Gumbo.
This time they will confront the continent’s big boys under the tutelage of former Warriors skipper Norman Mapeza who is no stranger to the African jungle having been previously head coach of the national team.
The miners will have a month preparing for their first continental assignment as there are scheduled to start their African journey on February 13.
New signings Emmanuel Mandiranga, Brian Muzondiwa and Wellington Kamudyariwa reported for duty on the first day of training yesterday together with forward Nigel Papias.
Walter Musona, Wisdom Mutasa, Tatenda Dzumbunu and Obrey Chirwa were also at training with seniors Daniel Vheremu, Donald Ngoma, Qadr Amini, Nelson Maziwisa, Thabani Kamusoko, Petros Mhari and Gift Bello part of the team in the first workout.
“We started our pre-season today (yesterday) and the technical department had a meeting with the players,” said Chido Chizondo the club’s media liaison officer.
“Everything is now in order as they are all ready. Everyone is happy to be back and they are raring to go. All the players we were expecting to be here have reported for duty. Aaron (Katebe) is yet to report for duty. He is still with his country’s national team.”
Katebe was not included in the final Zambian Chipolopolo squad and will rejoin Platinum on Monday.
Some members who missed out on Mapeza’s initial 25-member squad handed to Caf on December 31 last year have a chance to impress the coach in the next few days as he can still add five more players before January 15.
Players like James Marufu, Ashley Mukwenya and Tarisai Rukanda are among those who have reported for duty who are not part of the initial squad.
“The coach is still assessing players and might add other few names to the squad before the 15th,” said Chizondo.
Meanwhile, their opponents in the preliminary round Sofapaka of Kenya had a false start to their pre-season ahead of the competition.
The financially-troubled club’s president Elly Kalekwa earlier called on the government to give them financial assistance as they will be representing the country in the African Safari.
Batoto baMungu, as Sofapaka are affectionately known, have already started their pre-season, but are without their Ugandan head coach Sam Timbe until January 20 as he is in his home country for personal reasons.
“I have genuine reasons why I would join the team that late and everybody at the club is aware,” Timbe said in an interview from Kampala, with Goal.com.
“I left transfer business to club president and he has done what we asked to be done as the technical bench. We shall be ready to work by then. I have faith in my assistant David Ouma to start off the pre-season well.”