FC Platinum have defended their Caf Champions League squad for the 2018/2019 season as they seek to reach the group phase for the first time.
The platinum miners were eliminated at the preliminary round by this season’s semifinalists Primeiro Agosto on a heavy 5-1 aggregate scoreline that included a 2-1 home defeat.
They return to the Champions League and coach Norman Mapeza has included five new faces in his 27-man squad from the team that succumbed to Agosto.
Mapeza has bolstered his strikeforce with Triangle forward Lameck Nhamo and Thomas Chideu, who returned home after unsuccessful spells in South Africa with Ajax Cape Town and Golden Arrows.
Midfielder Ranson Pavari from Bulawayo City and former Dynamos defensive linkman Devon Chafa have been included, while defender Ian Nekati has returned after a loan stint at ZPC Kariba.
“The coach has finalised his squad . What the coach is trying to do is maintaining consistency and that is why he hasn’t made too many changes except for the midfield and strikeforce. That’s where he felt it was important to add a few players,” FC Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo told Goal.
Headlining players to have fallen by the wayside are Zambian midfifler Shadreck Mayembe and striker Farai Mupasiri. Cameroonian forward Albert Eonde has been retained together with veteran striker Charles Sibanda.
Current Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League top scorer Rodwell Chinyengetere is tipped to be the chief marksman for the platinum miners in Africa.
It would be the third time for FC Platinum to compete in the Caf Champions League after also another unsuccessful attempt in 2012 that saw them exit in the first round.
FC Platinum squad; Goalkeepers: Petros Mhari, Wallace Magalane, Francis Tizayi.
Defenders: Raphael Muduviwa, Jameson Mukombwe, Elvis Moyo, Kelvin Moyo, William Sitima, Gift Bello, Lawrence Mhlanga, Ian Nekati.
Midfielders: Farai Madhanhanga, Winston Mhango, Never Tigere, Kelvin Madzongwe, Marshall Mudehwe, Rahman Kutsanzira, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Ali Sadiki, Ranson Pavari, Devon Chafa.
Forwards: Mkhokheli Dube, Gift Mbweti, Albert Eonde, Charles Sibanda, Lameck Nhamo, Thomas Chideu.