All systems go for SA trio in CAF games
Three South African sides hold the advantage going into the second leg of their continental competitions’ preliminary ties at the weekend.
Of all the four South African clubs campaigning in these events, Mamelodi Sundowns were tipped to be the toast of the country. But the Brazilians were the only ones who returned without a win after going down to Chicken Inn of Zimbabwe in the CAF Champions League.
Kaizer Chiefs strolled to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Volcan de Moroni of the Comoros in the same competition, with Bidvest Wits and Ajax Cape Town also registering victories away from home in the Seychelles and Angola, respectively, in the Confederation Cup.
The Downs result made the headlines. While they were untouchable at home in an unbeaten run of 19 games in all competitions, they were brought down to Mother Earth by a less fancied Zimbabwean side in Bulawayo.
If anything, the defeat should serve as a wake-up call for Pitso Mosimane and his troops.
They are expected to bounce back and avenge that defeat when the teams meet in the second leg next weekend.
Mosimane will back his charges to overturn the deficit and progress to the next round.
They missed the influence of Zimbabwean Khama Billiat in the game.
With Keagan Dolly and Leonardo Castro, the trio have been too hot to handle in the domestic league.
The “CBD” – Castro-Billiat-Dolly – have dominated in the league and should take their form into the Champions League.
First, they have a date with Mpumalanga Black Aces on Wednesday at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
It is a tough call for Mosimane – whether to go easy against Aces and rest some key players with one eye on the weekend’s big one against Chicken Inn, or go all-out in both matches.
Sundowns supporters will be hoping last weekend’s defeat does not signal the beginning of a slump.
After their comfortable away win, which almost guarantees them a place in the next round, Chiefs can afford to field their strongest side against Polokwane City on Tuesday as they look to close the gap at the top of the log.
Steve Komphela’s side made things easier for themselves last weekend and he can channel all his efforts into the league encounter.
Eric Mathoho was twice on the scoresheet and Komphela might be tempted to rest the defender and some of his other key players, to offer fringe squad members a chance to finish the job in Durban on Saturday night.
After winning 3-0 away from home, Wits’ Gavin Hunt will also have the luxury of resting some of his influential players when he again faces Lightstars FC of Seychelles on Saturday.
Roger De Sá could similarly be tempted to field youngsters against Sagrada Esperança of Angola after Ajax’s 2-1 win away.
HERO Eric Mathoho scored a brace BACK Khama Billiat will bolster the attack against Chicken Inn