CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League champions, FC Platinum, left the country Monday for their Caf Champions League preliminary round match against CNaps Sport of Madagascar.
The platinum miners quickly switched focus and cut short their domestic championship celebrations and were expected to arrive in Madagascar late yesterday.
They travelled with a squad of 19 players after dropping winger, Rahman Kutsanzira, who sustained an ankle injury in their final league game of the season which they drew 0-0 against Highlanders in Bulawayo last Wednesday.
FC Platinum will be making their second appearance in the Caf Champions League and play their first leg of the preliminary round on an artificial turf at the Centre des Loisirs de la CNaPS Vontovorona tomorrow.
They will be hoping to snatch at least a draw in Madagascar and return to finish off the Indian Ocean islanders at Mandava Stadium next week.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions held two training sessions at the Zifa Village in Mt Hampden on Saturday and Sunday to familiarise themselves with the artificial turf they will play on tomorrow.
Norman Mapeza, the FC Platinum coach, is praying for a favourable result in Madagascar.
“We are now in the Caf Champions League gear and everyone is raring to go. We did our own research on the team we are playing, watched a couple of videos and got an idea of how they play. Most of their players I understand are members of Madagascar’s national team, so we know the challenges we are going to face. We have to try and get a result. If we get a draw it will be okay and if we manage to win then it will be a bonus for us.
“We want to do better than our last Caf Champions League campaign, but we have to maintain focus and try to get a positive result from this match,” said Mapeza.
FC Platinum travelled with an experienced squad capable of going beyond the preliminary stage.
Among players with continental football experience that are part of the squad are captain and goalkeeper Petros Mhari, defenders Lawrence Mhlanga and Kevin Moyo, defensive midfielders Winston Mhango and Edwin Farai Madanhanga as well as forwards Rodwell Chinyengetere, Charles Sibanda and Mkhokheli Dube.
Chinyengetere and Moyo missed FC Platinum’s match against Highlanders as they were away on national duty in Liberia.
Should FC Platinum go past the preliminary round, they will face the winner of the game between Clube Desportivo Primeiro de Agosto of Angola and Congo’s AS Otoho in the first round on December 14.
Clube Desportivo Primeiro de Agosto knocked FC Platinum out of the 2018 edition of the Caf Champions League.
FC Platinum Squad
Petros Mhari, Francis Tizayi, Gift Bello, Lawrence Mhlanga, Elvis Moyo, Kelvin Moyo, William Sitima, Raphael Muduviwa, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Farai Madanhanga, Devon Chafa, Kelvin Madzongwe, Winston Mhango, Never Tigere, Marshal Mudehwe, Gift Mbweti, Albert Eonde, Mkhokheli Dube, Thomas Chideu.