Bucs, Sun­downs out to con­quer Africa

SA gi­ants face Zim, Nige­rian teams

Sowetan - - Dipapadi - By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Mamelodi Sun­downs’ readi­ness to con­quer Africa again will be put to test when they face Nige­ria’s Lobi Stars in their first CAF Cham­pi­ons League group stage match at Nnamdi Azikiwe Sta­dium tonight (6pm).

The 2016 Cham­pi­ons League win­ners will take on Lobi Stars with­out striker Jeremy Brockie, who’s sus­pended.

Lobi Stars, how­ever, have their own wor­ries with key play­ers An­thony Ag­baji, Sa­mad Kadiri and Sikiru

Alimi hav­ing re­port­edly aban­doned ship and left for over­seas clubs.

The hosts have not been de­feated in their last 16 matches at home. But the Brazil­ians have gar­nered some valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence in this com­pe­ti­tion. They are in the group stage for the fourth time in a row.

The likes of De­nis Onyango, Hlom­pho Kekana, Tiyani Mabunda and Gas­ton Sirino would be key for the Tsh­wane side as they seek a good start in their group, which in­cludes 2017 cham­pi­ons

Wy­dad

Casablanca (Mo­rocco) and Asec Mi­mosas (Ivory Coast), who are also in ac­tion tonight. Or­lando Pi­rates, mean­while, will also be aim­ing to fly the

SA flag high when they en­ter­tain Zim­babwe’s FC Plat­inum at Bour­bafields Sta­dium in Bulawayo to­mor­row (3pm).

The Buc­ca­neers scrapped through to the group stage by beat­ing African Stars of Namibia 1-0 on ag­gre­gate.

Pi­rates have some real fire­power in Them­binkosi Lorch, Vin­cent Pule and Justin Shonga, who scored the all-im­por­tant goal in Wind­hoek.

It’s in de­fence – they have only seven clean sheets in 26 matches – where Bucs men­tor Mi­cho Sre­do­je­vic will have to pick the rear­guard that will be wa­ter­tight against the Zim­bab­wean cham­pi­ons.

Pi­rates’s other group op­po­nents Horoya of Guinea host reign­ing cham­pi­ons Esper­ance from Tu­nisia tonight.

/ LEFTY SHIVAMBU /GALLO IM­AGES / GALLO IM­AGES

Gas­ton Sirino is ex­pected to ex­cel for Sun­downs against Lobi Stars tonight. Them­binkosi Lorch will be key when Bucs meet FC Plat­inum to­mor­row. Pule Ek­stein and his for­mer Kaizer Chiefs team­mate Ge­orge Lebese.

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