FC PLATINUM fly out this morning aboard Kenyan Airways to the East African county where they take on Sofapaka in the first leg preliminary round of the Orange Caf Confederation Cup at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
Club liaison officer Chido Chizondo yesterday confirmed that the team would be flying direct to Kenya from Harare.
“We are leaving tomorrow (today) from the Harare International Airport at 11am aboard the Kenyan Airways and expected to arrive in Nairobi at 3:55pm,” she said.
“We will play our game on Sunday at 3pm Kenyan time and 2pm local time. I am yet to confirm which hotel we will be checking into on arrival in Nairobi.”
The Norman Mapeza-coached side left Zvishavane for Harare yesterday morning and was expected to hold a training session later in the day and put up there before departure for Kenya this morning.
Led by skipper Thabani Kamusoko, the youthful side — with Walter Musona, Wisdom Mutasa, twins Kevin and Elvis Moyo and Raphael Mudhuviwa — will be hoping for a positive result against Sofapaka so that they would be comfortable when they host the East African after a fortnight.
Platinum has veterans Donald Ngoma, Daniel Vheremu, Allen Gahadzikwa and Nelson Maziwisa with goalkeepers Petros Mhari and Francis Tizayi.
Meanwhile, in one of the build-ups to the Sunday match, Sofapaka lost 1-2 to Kenyan champions Gor Mahia in the DStv Super Cup final on Wednesday night at Nyayo Stadium. The team earlier beat visiting Zambian giants Power Dynamos 1-0 in a friendly match.
Sofapaka coach Sam Timbe has remained cautiously optimistic of going a step further than they did in 2011 when they exited the tournament in the pre-group stage.
The team have assembled a strong playing unit ahead of the Caf Confederation campaign that begins this weekend even as they prepare to chase second domestic league title.
In 2009, Sofapaka wrote a rosy chapter in Kenya’s football books when they became the first club to bag the league title in a maiden attempt.
They went on to have a fairytale run in the Confederation Cup in 2011 before being stopped by Club Africaine of Tunisia in the pre-group stages of the tournament.
Prior to falling to the Tunisian giants on a 3-2 aggregate, Sofapaka had knocked out Atlético Sport Aviacao 5-4 on post-match penalties in the preliminary round before eliminating Ismailia of Egypt 4-2 in round one of the event.
Sofapaka followed up their victory over Ismailia by knocking out Congolese side St Eloi Lupopo in the second round of the tournament on away-goals rule after a 2-2 aggregate score.
However, ahead of the Sunday meeting, Timbe would not be drawn into discussing his team’s chances, preferring to dwell on Wednesday’s Super Cup clash with Gor Mahia, which they lost.
“I know we will be having a big game (against Platinum), but I do not want to talk about it. I will only be able to do so after our game with Gor Mahia. I will need to assess the players and know who is available for the match before I talk on the game,” he explained.
Timbe made a name for himself last season when he stretched the fight for the league title to the final day, eventually finishing second to Gor.