Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
FC PLATINUM are likely to be Zimbabwe’s only representatives in the upcoming Total Caf club competition after agreeing to represent the nation in the Champions League tournament that gets underway in late November this year.
Following a change of calendar in the Caf Confederation and Champions League format, Zimbabwe were asked to second two teams that will represent the nation this year since registration of the participating teams would start well before the Premier Soccer League comes to an end but Harare City, who were seconded to take part in the Confederation Cup declined the offer.
“We have decided to take up the offer and represent the nation in the Total Caf Champions League once more. Zifa have been formally informed of our position,” said FC Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo.
It will be third time luck for Pure Platinum in the tournament having first participated in 2012 when they met their fate at the hands of Sudanese giants El Merreikh and this year there were again eliminated in the preliminary stages, going down 2-5 on aggregate to Angolan outfit Desportivo D’Agosto who beat them 1-3 and 1-2 over two legs respectively.
In 2015 they were Caf Confederation Cup participants where their fate was decided by Tanzanian outfit Young Africans who won 2-5 on aggregate. This time around coach Norman Mapeza, who has been in charge of all their African competition encounters, will be hoping for a third time luck in the Champions League.
According to tentative dates, the first leg of the preliminary round will be played on the weekend of November 27-28 with the return leg set for December 4-5.
If they sail through, the first leg of the first round will be played on December 14-16 and the return clash just a week later.
Group stage matches are expected to run from January 11 to March 17, 2019 while quarterfinals have been set for April 5-7 (first leg) with the return leg coming up on April 12-14.
The draw for the knockout games will take place on March 20, 2019 and the first leg of the final takes place on the weekend of May 24-25 with the second leg coming up a week later.