AFTER completing a memorable Premiership and cup double, high riding FC Platinum have now shifted their focus to the Champions’ League amid strong indications that they have targeted the signatures of the seasoned pair of midfielders Liberty Chakoroma and Tendai Samanja.
FC Platinum earned the ticket to represent Zimbabwe in the Champions’ League following their triumph in the Castle Lager Premiership where they have finished two points ahead of Dynamos and end a decades’ long wait by a team from outside Harare and Bulawayo to win the championship.
On Saturday, Norman Mapeza’s men put the icing on the cake when they overcame Harare City 2-1 in a Castle Challenge Cup, which is part of the Premiership Soccer League’s Silver Jubilee celebrations.
But hardly had the celebrations died down in the mining town of Zvishavane than FC Platinum were already putting shoulders to the wheel in search of talent they believe could further strengthen their squad for their African adventure.
Chakoroma who starred for the Warriors at the Cosafa Castle Cup in South Africa in June, heightened speculation about the possibility of his move to FC Platinum when he was spotted at Mandava on Saturday for the Challenge up tie between the miners and Harare City.
Interestingly, Samanja who is also believed to be on the radar of FC Platinum featured in that game, albeit on a losing cause for Harare City.
With midfield enforcer Gerald Takwara still pursuing a move to Ajax Cape Town, Chakoroma is seen as a direct replacement while Samanja who played under Mapeza at Monomotapa also boasts of some Champions League and Confederation Cup experience.
Takwara’s contract with the platinum miners is coming to an end and Ajax Cape Town are reported to be leading a number of South African clubs who after the gritty midfielder.
But Chakoroma will arrive at Mandava with bag of experience that might be useful in the African Safari. The defensive midfielder has played in the South African league before and also has international experience with the Warriors and with Ngezi Platinum Stars in the Confederations Cup.
Although he was coy on his actual transfer targets, Mapeza confirmed he would be raiding the market ahead of the start of the African Safari in which FC Platinum look set to start at the preliminary round stage.
The FC Platinum coach said he would ideally want two good players for every position in his squad.
“Some of the positions are okay but we have to prepare with league games in mind we cannot just prepare thinking of the Champions’ League that is why I am saying in every position we need to have two quality players.
“If we are going to use one squad that is if we qualify to go far in the champions’ league we will be in for it definitely we will be in for it that is why I am saying in every position we need two players,” said Mapeza.
Mapeza said divulging the names of his squad at this stage could jeopardise negotiations but the former Zimbabwe captain did not hide his ambitions to try and reach the group stage of Africa’s biggest club knockout tournament.
“No, I cannot say anything otherwise I will jeopardise everything.
“It will be good for us to reach maybe the group stages, if we reach the group stages then we can say guys this is where we are and let us push and see how far we can go but the most important thing is for us to get to the group stages,” said Mapeza.
Mapeza’s decision to bolster his squad might have been influenced by the way his Caps United counterpart, Lloyd Chitembwe, battled to strike a balance between his Champions’ League and domestic commitments with a thin side.