FC Platinum among Africa’s football royalty

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Premiership kings, FC Platinum, will line up against, at least, nine former winners of the CAF Champions League when the draw for the group stages is held next week.

The platinum miners made a second successive appearance at the group stage after thumping Mozambican opponents UD Songo 5-2 aggregate in the second round.

Their compatriots Triangle are also on the brink of making the group stage in the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup after upsetting perennial campaigners Azam of Tanzania 2-0.

Triangle are set to meet one of the teams that dropped from the Champions League in a two-legged play-off.

The draw will be done simultaneously in Cairo, Egypt, where FC Platinum will line up among the giants of continental football.

The determination of the Champions League group stage entrants was completed at the weekend.

Lizwe Sweswe’s men have been perfect in the 2019 edition despite suffering the setback of losing head coach Norman Mapeza in the middle of the qualifying campaign.

Mapeza had steered them to a 3-2 win over Big Bullets before walking away from the club.

Still, they went on to beat UD Songo 1-0 at home two weeks ago and then completed a perfect double when they held their nerve in Beira on Saturday in a 4-2 win.

The draw, however, will be dominated by teams from the North African countries after Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia provided two teams each for the group stage.

Among the mini-league entrants are record eight-time African football kings Al Ahly of Egypt, holders Esperance of Tunisia, last year’s finalists and two-time African champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

There are also winners of past competitions who include TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia), Mamelodi Sundowns (SA), Raja Casablanca (Morocco), JS Kabylie (Algeria) and DR Congo side AS Vita who won the old version of the competition back in 1973.

Angola also have two teams following the success of Petro Atletico and Primerio de Agosto, who played FC Platinum in the preliminary round last year.

DR Congo also have two clubs in TP Mazembe and AS Vita Club.

Five-time champions Zamalek of Egypt have one foot in the draw pending the boardroom determination of their controversial second leg tie against Generation Foot of Senegal which was abandoned at the weekend without a ball kicked.

CAF Champions League group stage entrants

Esperance, Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia), TP Mazembe, AS Vita (DR Congo), Wydad Casablanca, Raja Casablanca (Morocco), Al Ahly, *Zamalek (Egypt), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), USM Alger, JS Kabylie (Algeria), ZESCO United (Zambia), Al Hilal (Sudan), Primeiro de Agosto, Petro du Luanda (Angola), FC Platinum (Zimbabwe)

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