All sys­tems go for SA trio in CAF games

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

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.

PHOTO: MUZI NTOMBELA / BACKPAGEPIX PHOTO: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IM­AGES

HERO Eric Mathoho scored a brace BACK Khama Billiat will bol­ster the at­tack against Chicken Inn

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