Mukudzei Chingwere Midlands Bureau
PREMIERSHIP kings FC Platinum continued with their move to strengthen their squad when they completed the signing of two foreign forwards – Zambian Shadreck Mayembe and Cameroonian Albert Eonde – ahead of the Champions League registration deadline.
After assessing the two strikers along with a number of hopefuls, FC Platinum were convinced that Mayembe and Eonde could add bite to their attack and the miners yesterday sealed the deals to bring the duo to Zvishavane. The signings were completed just in time for tomorrow’s Confederation of African Football deadline for teams participating in the continental tournaments to register their squads.
FC Platinum were left as the country’s only representatives following the withdrawal from the Confederation Cup of Chibuku Super Cup winners Harare City. The Sunshine Boys decided against participating in the Confederation Cup when they were demoted from the Premiership.
That development left FC Platinum as the country’s only flag bearers on the African safari and the Zvishavane outfit have been hard at work over the festive period as they raced to meet the CAF deadline by ensuring they assembled a squad strong enough to compete in the Champions League.
Although Mayembe and Eonde did not take time to make an impression on coach Norman Mapeza, the two-time championship winning coach has, however, requested for more time from his executive to run the ruler over striker Ghanaian Ibrahim Dauda.
Dauda might miss tomorrow’s deadline day but should he impress, the miners still have an opportunity register him before the second deadline on January 15, which however, comes at a cost for the club. The arrival of the foreign strikers, however, comes as boost to Mapeza, who despite winning the title, bemoaned the lack of a cutting edge in his attack.
Mapeza admitted that he needed reinforcement for a strike force that could only manage 40 goals in 34 league games. The coach also decided to buttress his defence with the acquisitions of Never Tigere and Jameson Mukombwe.
It is, however, still not clear whether the deals involving Liberty Chakoroma, Rahman Kutsanzira and Kelvin Madzongwe have been sealed in time for tomorrow’s CAF registration. But FC Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo confirmed the signings of the highly rated foreign strikers and said the other names being linked with the club are not yet officially part of them.
“We have now completed the signings of Shadreck and Albert. They are now part of us, they impressed on trials. We have not yet signed Ibrahim, the coaches still want to assess him, but if they are satisfied, we can still add him to the squad. We are still negotiating some deals and I cannot talk of players who are not yet part of us, but I will only be confirming the ones we have finalised,” said Chizondo.
Chizond also distanced her club from the long-drawn dispute over Lawrence Mhlanga and said the miners would only consider signing the defender when he has been cleared.
“The issue of Lawrence, I do not know where FC Platinum is coming in, it is Lawrence, FUZ (Footballers Union of Zimbabwe) and Chicken Inn. We are nowhere near the dispute. If anything, I think we must be applauded for giving Lawrence a home during his trials and tribulations.
“We actually tried to engage Chicken Inn on several occasions, but somehow nothing materialised, the engagements were because we were concerned about the situation of the player. If ZIFA clears the player, we will negotiate with the player with the aim of signing him, but as it is, the situation is not in our hands. We will just wait to talk to the player when he is cleared,” said Chizondo.
Players like Takesure Chinyama, Marshall Mudehwe and Brian Muzondiwa are headed for the exit door following the arrival of new players. Gritty midfielder Gerald Takwara has also left the club for South African Premiership side Ajax Cape Town.