Mapeza accepts Chakoroma's decision

HARARE - FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza says he respects Liberty Chakoroma’s decision after the utility player made a sudden U-turn to snub the reigning champions and opted for an improved deal with rivals Ngezi Platinum Stars.

Chakoroma is one of the players who had been included by the platinum miners on their 28-man list that was registered with the Confederation of African Football for this year’s Champions League after he had agreed personal terms with the reigning champions.

However, the Zvishavane-based side’s plans for the African Champions League were put into disarray after Chakoroma eventually opted to sign a new contract with Ngezi Platinum Stars leaving Mapeza in desperate need to replace him.

Chakoroma’s decision to snub the platinum miners is a huge blow as they are now left with only four days to find his replacement.

“I think it’s important to respect his decision. He has his reasons and we can only wish him well,” Mapeza told the Daily News.

“We will see in the next few days if it’s possible to find a replacement. We don’t want this to affect our preparations. We remain focused and continue with our preparations.”

FC Platinum have set up their training base in Bulawayo and apart from the Chakoroma circus, the club has strengthened their squad by bringing in duo of Zambian forward Shadreck Mayembe and Cameroonian Albert Eonde.

The champions also sealed the deals to bring midfielder Rahman Kutsanzira from Highlanders as well as defenders Jameson Mukombwe, who signed from Black Rhinos, and Lawrence Mhlanga, who spent the entire 2017 season sidelined by a contractual dispute with Chicken Inn.

Goalkeeper Collin Phiri, Kelvin Madzongwe, Never Tigere, Nigel Papias are also some of the new players who were present at the team’s first training session yesterday.

Some of the players retained from the previous year include reigning Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere, first runner-up Kelvin Moyo, forward Gift Mbweti among others.

However, there were no places for Takesure Chinyama, Brian Muzondiwa, Ian Nekati and Raymond Sibanda among others whose contracts were not renewed.

FC Platinum, will only be making their second appearance in the African Champions League, having previously participated in the 2012 edition in which they were eliminated in the first round stage by Sudanese giants El Merreikh.

Mapeza has since made his intentions clear to at least reach the group stages of the tournament.

The 2018 African Champions League draw was not kind to Mapeza’s charges as they were handed a tricky route to reach the group stages after being paired against Angolan champions Desportivo de Agosto in the preliminary round.

The Zimbabwean champions will travel to Angola on the weekend of February 9-11 before hosting their opponents at Mandava Stadium a week later.

If Mapeza’s men get past Desportivo de Agosto, they will then face the winner of the tie between South African side Bidvest Wits and Pamplemousses of Mauritius.

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