Champions FC Platinum look to build dynasty in Zimbabwe
They may not have caught much attention outside of Zimbabwe, but slowly there is a dynasty being built at FC Platinum, who recently added their first Premier League title in the 22-year history of the club.
In doing so, the Zvishavane-based side became the first team from outside of the major two centres, Harare and Bulawayo, to claim the title in post-independence Zimbabwe .
The club is coached by current Zimbabwe national team boss Norman Mapeza, and the massive cash injection they've received in recent years from owner Worthwhile Mugabe threatens to shake up the traditional footballing hierarchy in the country.
Now, the side are ready to splash the cash in order to not only entrench their position as the leading side in Zimbabwe, but also launch an assault on the 2018 CAF Champions League title.
FC Platinum finished the season on 72 points from their 34 games to lift their maiden title, two ahead of Harare-based Dynamos, who had won the championship for four years in a row between 2011 and 2014.
It now means there have been four different league winners in the last four seasons as Chicken Inn (2015) and CAPS United (2016) claimed victory in the two years between.
However, FC Platinum are now threatening to go on a winning streak, with arguably the best coach in the domestic game in Mapeza, and with raids on the best players of their rivals in order to not only strengthen their squad, but weaken the selection of the others.
"We definitely need to beef up the team. We have to strengthen all the departments," Mapeza told News Day. "We have some of our players who are on loan and we will consider bringing them back.
"I will be meeting with the executive soon to discuss the issue and see areas we need to beef up."
It has been reported that they are ready to raid Highlanders for captain Rahman Kutsanzira, and grab Qadr Amini, rated as one of the best players in the league last season, from Ngezi Platinum [via News Day]. Also targeted is national Under-20 rising star Delic Murimba from Hwange.
Ngezi Platinum midfielder Liberty Chakoroma has also been sounded out as a replacement for Gerald Takwara, who is likely to leave for South African Premier Soccer League side Ajax Cape Town in January.
"We are expecting some of our players to leave. There are some few guys whose contracts are coming to an end at the end of the year," Mapeza added, as per Daily News, "but we expect to be done with our transfer business before Christmas.
"We want to tie down those whom we want early to avoid late signings," he added. "If we are going to add players we need to make sure that we bring players that add value to the club, players that can take the team to the next level.
"We want at least two competent players in each position. Remember we should prepare ourselves with the domestic league in mind. It's not easy balancing the domestic campaign and the Champions League and if we are to rely on the same squad then we will be in for it especially if we are to make it to the group stages in Africa.
"So we need quality players. For us it will be good if we can reach the group stages of the Champions League."
It is inevitable that Zimbabwe clubs, even those with financial backers with deep pockets like FC Platinum, will lose their best players as the lure to play in neighbouring South Africa or Europe is too strong.
However, with that being the case for all sides, FC Platinum can still steal a march on the domestic opposition by taking their top stars.
Don't be surprised if this year's title success is the start of a spell of domestic dominance for the Platinum Boys.