Platinum prepare for Sofapaka

FC PLATINUM will wind up their preparations for their Orange Caf Confederation Cup preliminary round first leg encounter against Kenya’s Sofapaka with a friendly match against Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.

THANDIWE MOYO/
FORTUNE MBELE

They leave for the East African country next Friday for the first leg tie which will be played on February 15 at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.

The match officials for the Caf Confederation Cup tie between Kenyan Side Sofapaka FC and FC Platinum from Zimbabwe have been named.

The centre referee will be El-Fatih Wadeed Khaleel from Sudan. He will be assisted by Mohammed Idam Idam Hamid and Elmoiz Ali Mohamed Ahmed, both from Sudan, who will serve as the first and second assistant referees, respectively.

Another Sudanese Mahmood Ali Mahmood Ismail will serve as the reserve referee with Eritrean Tuccu Guish Ghebremeolin acting as the match commissioner.

About 50 club supporters are expected to make the trip 24 hours before kick-off to cheer Pure Platinum Play in their second appearance in Africa after playing in the Champions League in 2012.

The Zvishavane-based outfit is the only Zimbabwean team that would journey into the African Safari this year after league champions Dynamos pulled out of the Orange Caf Champions League due to financial constraints.

Club media liaison officer Chido Chizondo confirmed the team would be leaving next Friday.

“We will be leaving on Friday (February 13) to give the boys enough time to acclimatise on Saturday and our match is on Sunday,” she said.

“If the coach sees it fit we might have another friendly match, but that is very unlikely.”

Platinum’s assistant coach Patrick Mandizha said they hoped Highlanders would give them a tough game that would help them rate their progress.

“We are playing against Highlanders on Saturday (tomorrow) and we are hoping it will help us assess how far we have gone in terms of preparing for the Confederation Cup,” he said.

“So far the guys have been responding positively to training. The thing about international matches is that we have to make sure that we do not concede a goal, but score an away goal to put us in a comfortable position and increase our chances of progressing.

Sofapaka assistant coach David Ouma

Sofapaka assistant coach David Ouma

He said they would be bringing players that were registered for the Confederation Cup, including Brian Muzondiwa, Wellington Kamudyariwa, Nigel Papius and new boy Ronwell Mathuthu.

“Our new signings — Muzondiwa, Kamudyariwa and juniors Nigel Papius and Ronwell Mathuthu will be part of the team,” he said.

“Papius is a striker and was the top goalscorer for two seasons in the Under-19 ranks while Mathuthu is a defender.”

FC Platinum are reportedly after the signature of Bantu Rovers captain Nqobizitha Masuku with the deal said to be almost complete.

However, Mandizha said Masuku would not feature tomorrow.

“I do not know much about his deal,” he said.

“We want him, but I cannot say much about whether he has been signed or not.”

As part of the build-up to the match next Sunday, Sofapaka beat Zambia’s Power Dynamos 1-0 at Nyayo on Wednesday. Former Gor Mahia’s Kevin “Ade” Omondi scored the solitary goal for Sofapaka.

Power Dynamos, who are in camp in Kenya en route to Sudan for Al-Khartoum in the first leg preliminary phase of the Confederation Cup, had thumped Gor Mahia 3-0 on Sunday in another practice match.

Sofapaka assistant coach David Ouma has been quoted in the Kenyan media saying he was happy that the team had picked up well before the continental assignment.

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