SA clubs need to pick up pace

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­

Next week is an­other tough one for South African clubs in con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tions – a sort of make-or­break sit­u­a­tion. While Su­perS­port United are rid­ing the crest of the wave in the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup, Plat­inum Stars are on the verge of be­ing knocked out of the same com­pe­ti­tion, and Mamelodi Sun­downs need to get their CAF Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign back on track. United are on top of their group in the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup and will be hop­ing to con­sol­i­date their po­si­tion at the ex­pense of visit­ing Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo side TP Mazembe on Tues­day. Af­ter earn­ing a cred­i­ble draw away from home, United should be buoyed by their per­for­mance at Mazembe af­ter com­ing from 2-0 down to force a draw. De­fender Mor­gan Gould said he had a lot of re­spect for Mazembe and be­lieved there was no big­ger game than the up­com­ing one. Af­ter play­ing TP Mazembe in front of their home sup­port­ers a fort­night ago, Gould was still in awe and said he had not ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing like what they en­coun­tered in Lubum­bashi. “They are a night­mare,” said Gould. “They are a com­plete team and, foot­ball-wise, they are on an­other level. If you can take them with their sup­port­ers, their sta­dium and ev­ery­thing they have, they will fit in any­where in Europe. They are just foot­ball crazy.” He said Mazembe de­served their sta­tus as one of the best on the con­ti­nent. “We know we have a cup fi­nal be­fore an­other fi­nal, and it is go­ing to be de­mand­ing and tax­ing for us. How­ever, I be­lieve we have enough man­power and de­sire to do well in the two com­pe­ti­tions. “We are mo­ti­vated and there is no way we will go down with­out a fight. Our young­sters have been do­ing well and have learnt a lot in this com­pe­ti­tion.” Sun­downs have had a poor start in the CAF Cham­pi­ons League, with just one vic­tory in three matches. They have one match and drew one. They will need to bounce back against Esper­ance, who beat them 2-1 a fort­night ago, when they face them on Wed­nes­day evening. Pitso Mosi­mane’s side are cur­rently in third place in their group, with four points from three games, and trail Ethiopian side St Ge­orge and their Tu­nisian ri­vals by one and three points, re­spec­tively. Sun­downs’ cam­paign got off to a slow start when they were held to a draw at home by the Ethiopi­ans in their open­ing game. They re­cov­ered to beat AS Vita Club away, but then fal­tered again at home to the Tu­nisians. How­ever, a vic­tory will get their cam­paign back on track as they eye the knock­out stages. It has been a good run for Plat­inum Stars, who were not even ex­pected to qual­ify for the group stages, but they are now star­ing elim­i­na­tion in the eye in their next game. Stars have one point to show for their ef­forts af­ter a draw and two de­feats, and will need to beat visit­ing Tu­nisian side CS Sfax­ien on Tues­day for a chance to make the knock­out stages. Willem Jack­son has been over­see­ing the team af­ter the club de­cided not to re­new Cavin John­son’s con­tract.

Su­perS­port United vs TP Mazembe (Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium, Tues­day, 7pm); Plat­inum Stars vs CS Sfax­ien (Royal Bafo­keng Sta­dium, Wed­nes­day, 7pm)

CAF Cham­pi­ons League:

Esper­ance vs Mamelodi Sun­downs (Stade Olympique de Radès, Wed­nes­day, 11pm)


OUT­STAND­ING Ab­bubaker Mo­bara has been play­ing well in the Ned­bank Cup


RE­SERVED Mor­gan Gould says against TP Mazembe is a tough team

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