NORMAN Mapeza will finally get a crack at an African club title-after his side FC Platinum were confirmed Zimbabwe’s only representatives in the 2015 Caf Confederation Cup.
Dynamos, the league champions, were due to take part in the Champions League, but financial constraints denied the 21-time league winners a return to Africa next season.
The deadline for the registration of teams for the inter-club competitions was Sunday November 30.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said yesterday: “I can confirm that we have registered one team for the Caf inter-club competitions, ie FC Platinum, who will take part in the Confederation Cup.
“We have not registered any team for the Champions League as Dynamos wrote to us indicating they were not able to participate due to financial constraints. ZPC Kariba (second- placed) also had no capacity to participate.”
Mapeza won the league title with Monomotapa in 2008, but quit the champions before they could head to the African jungles the following season to be replaced by Rodwell Dhlakama.
However, six years down the line and after a stint with the Warriors, he finally makes his debut.
Platinum beat Harare City on penalties to win the Chibuku Super Cup at Mandava Stadium after the game had ended 1-1 after 120 minutes of play. They won $75 000.
To stand any chance of reaping any rewards from the competition, Platinum have to reach the group stages where the team that finishes fourth is guaranteed $150 000, third and second-placed gets $239 000, runners up get $432 000 and the winners will pocket $625 000 and a shot at the Super Cup.
The Super Cup is contested by winners of the Confederation Cup and the Champions League.
The Zvishavane-based side is well sponsored by Mimosa Mining Company, but they have not waited to be baby-fed, venturing into various enterprises to raise their own funds in line with Caf Club Licensing Regulations.
Platinum took part in the Champions League in 2012, a year after winning promotion and finishing second to eventual champions Dynamos on goal difference, but were knocked out in the second round after losing 0-3 to El Merreikh of Sudan.
They, under Rahman Gumbo, had swept past Swaziland’s Green Mamba beating them home and away.
Now Mapeza, has two weeks (till December 15) to register his squad for African Safari before the draw at the end of the year.
When he took over from Lloyd Mutasa in August, Mapeza found a team lying in seventh place with just 31 points after 19 matches, and very short on confidence, but he restored a winning spirit and eventually they won the Chibuku Super Cup and finished fourth with 51 points.
Mapeza made use of youngsters Petros Mhari, Wisdom Mutasa, Walter Musona, Tatenda Dzumbunu, Raphael Muduviwa, Kelvin and Elvis Moyo and added the experience of Aaron Katebe, Obrey Chirwa, Thabani Kamusoko, Allen Gahadzikwa, Donald Ngoma, Qadr Amini and Benjamin Marere to steady his ship.
Some of Mapeza’s likely opponents from the region include South African side Bidvest Wits, home to former Warriors leftback Onisimor Bhasera and former Champions League winners Orlando Pirates.
Zambia’s Power Dynamos, who finished second in the just-ended season are coached by former Platinum boss Tennant Chilumba and will also take part in the Confed Cup.