Foreign duo charms Mapeza

HARARE - FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has revealed his admiration for the foreign duo of Zambian forward Shadreck Mayembe and Cameroonian Albert Eonde.

Mapeza, whose team is currently camping in Bulawayo to intensify preparations of their African Champions League qualifier next month, admitted that while it is still early days yet, the duo has already shown signs of their quality.

Mayembe and Eonde are among some of the new faces that have been signed by the platinum miners to strengthen their squad as they will be fighting from two fronts this year — in the Champions League and on the domestic campaign.

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.

“Yeah, so far so good,” Mapeza told the Daily News. “They are not bad players; they just need time to adjust.

“They are showing signs of quality players and we hope they would be able to settle in well. In fact I am happy with how things are going even the amount of effort being applied by everyone.”

The platinum miners’ preparations for this year’s Champions League have not been smooth after missing out on some of their prime targets including Ngezi Platinum Stars’ Liberty Chakoroma, who made a sudden U-turn on the last minute.

Midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku, who had been included on their 28-man squad list for the competition, left the team to join Zambian side Buildcon.

The reigning champions, however, managed to bring in Edwin Madhanhanga as a replacement from Harare City.

And Mapeza has expressed confidence with the transfer business his side has done.

“I can’t complain yet, things are looking okay,” he said. “I think this is the best that we could have come up with. We only need to work with what we have.

“We can’t be mourning about something that we do not have control over. We only need to work hard and I am sure things will be okay.”

FC Platinum is now home to 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.

The reigning champions have also retained most of their players from the previous year who 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 Brian Muzondiwa, who has since joined CAPS United while contract rebel Ian Nekati is reported to have signed for ZPC Kariba.

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.