Paul Mundandi Sports reporter—
NGEZI Platinum Stars are confident their home ground will pass the Confederation of African Football test in time for them to host their Confederation Cup preliminary round second leg match against Pamplemousse at Baobab.
The miners won the Chibuku Super Cup to secure a ticket to represent Zimbabwe in the Confederation Cup.
Ngezi Platinum will begin their quest to conquer the continent with a trip to Mauritius on the weekend of February 10-12, with the platinum miners hosting the reverse fixture a week later.
It is that match which they would like to play before their home fans at the Mhondoro mine.
Baobab is also within the 200km radius stipulated by CAF which means Ngezi Platinum Stars will not have to transport the Indian Ocean islanders by air when they arrive in Harare for the second leg tie.
It is a CAF requirement that teams should be flown for any distance that is more than 200km from their port of arrival to the match venue.
Ngezi Platinum chairman Jeremiah Gasitene expressed his club’s keenness to pass the CAF test.
“We want to play our games at Baobab and we have indicated that to CAF. We managed to register our players and we are just waiting for CAF to give us the greenlight so that we play our matches at home.
“The people in Ngezi have been rallying behind us and there is no reason to move our games away from Ngezi. When we constructed the stadium we constructed it following the CAF standards and I hope that we will be given the greenlight to play our matches here,” said Gasitene.
ZIFA Grounds Committee chairman Willard Manyengavana said Ngezi Platinum have the right to play at the venue of their choice, as long as it meets the minimum requirements from CAF.
“If Ngezi Platinum indicated that they want to play at Baobab, CAF will send their officials to inspect the stadium. We will definitely have the inspections done if we get a word from CAF,” said Manyengavana.
Should Ngezi Platinum beat Pamplemousse, they set up a date against CD Libolo of Angola.
Pamplemousse are not new to Zimbabwean teams as they once played against Highlanders in the preliminary round of the Champions League in 2007.
Bosso needed a penalty shoot-out to eliminate their opponents 9-8 after the two sides had been deadlocked 1-1 on aggregate.
The Confederation Cup has a $1.25 million prize for the winners with the runners-up pocketing $625 000.
Meanwhile, Ngezi Platinum Stars, who managed to secure the services of Godknows Murwira from Dynamos, are still hunting for a goalkeeper after the departure of their reserve goal minder.
The miners are reportedly courting ZPC Kariba goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya.
They have already signed left back Qadr Amin, Edgar Mhungu, Xolisani Moyo, MacClive Phiri and Dominic Mukandi.
Ngezi Platinum Stars squad:
Nelson Chadya,Tinashe Matore, Edgar Mhungu, Xolisani Moyo, Qadr Amin, Dominic Mukandi, MacClive Phiri, Liberty Chakoroma, Kelvin Bulaji, Nelson Ketala, Walter Mukanga, Partson Jaure, Edgar Tapera, Tatenda Mchisa, Donald Teguru, Davison Tavari, Terrence Dzukamanja, Keith Murera, Godknows Murwira, Byron Madzokere, Mandla Mlilo, Washington Pakamisa, Malvern Kwinjo, Zivanai Chikwenhere, Knowledge Machona, Michael Charamba, Tichaona Mabvura.