SOUTH AFRICAN TRIO LOOKING TO IMPRESS

Coming fresh from a midweek victory in the domestic cup competition, Supersport United will be looking at emulating their Pretoria rivals, Mamelodi Sundown in the continental club championship when they travel to Liberia to face Barrack Young Controllers in the 2nd 1/16th round first leg clash on Sunday.

Supersport have been enjoying a good run under coach Stuart Baxter, who is rumoured to be the new South African national team coach. ‘Matsatsantsa’ currently occupy fourth spot with two games in hand and well on course to defending their domestic cup title following their impressive win during the week.

The focus has now been completely shifted to continental assignment according to captain, Dean Furman. Speaking to CAFOnine.com after the club’s training session in Sunninghill, Johannesburg, the anchorman emphasized the importance of putting their domestic form behind them as continental competitions require a special type of performance when playing away.

“It is great that we have enjoyed a good run of form of late but it counts for nothing when playing against the best teams in Africa. We have to give it our all on Sunday against them and wrap it up in the return leg. Playing in Liberia will not be easy but getting a positive result away from home will make it slightly easier in the return leg. The coach has assembled a very strong and balanced squad so we are up for the challenge” said Furman.

Asked whether he sees the club going all the way to the final, Furman added that the approach remains one game at a time.

“We obviously would like to register our names in the history books but this is a very tough competition against the best in Africa so we need to take it one game at a time and not get too carried away”.

The Pretoria outfit has a clean bill of health with the exclusion of the long-term injuries of Bradley Grobbelaar and Alexander Cole. With the in-form Thabo Mnyamane alongside New Zealand international goal poacher Jeremy Brockie, the Liberians may have a torrid afternoon in Monrovia.

Meanwhile, Gavin Hunt is not a happy man after Bidvest Wits crashed out of South Africa’s domestic cup competition midweek. Despite being one of the contenders for the league title, the outspoken coach believes they could have done better in their loss to Jomo Cosmos (5-4 on penalties) and will be hoping for a better showing from his side when they welcome Smouha of Egypt at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.

Hunt who recently refuted claims that he does not take continental competitions seriously has urged his players to bring out the best performance in the upcoming match.

“Some players in the squad do not get a lot of game time but when they do, they don’t give it their all. I am hoping that will not be the case when we play on Saturday because it is through such games that you prove and cement yourself in the team” said Hunt.

The ‘Clever Boys’ may possibly be without skipper and winger, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Daine Klate, who are both recovering from injuries. Even though Wits got knocked out of the much prestigious Total CAF Champions League, fans of the Clever Boys have promised to be out in their numbers and in full voice at the Bidvest Stadium hoping to create the same intimidating environment for the Egyptians as was during their Al Ahly encounter.

Platinum Stars are the third South African representatives in the Total CAF Confederation Cup. While many have not given the North West based side a chance, ‘Dikwena’ is quietly going about their business in the competition. The club has made their intentions clear about doing well in the second-tier continental club championship and will stop at nothing to make their mark on the continent.

‘Dikwena’ will have a tough assignment traveling away from home to face Ivorian champions, AS Tanda in Abidjan. Both clubs are yet to make a mark on the continent and will look at changing their fortunes as they aim to edge closer to the finish line.

The first leg scheduled for the Robert Champroux Stadium in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, will be a morale boosting match should they win – this according to Chief Executive Officer, Senzo Masingisa.

“We are yet to make a mark in Africa and but with that said, we cannot go into the competition with our backs against the wall. We need to give it our best shot. We have been drawn against a club that lost in the Total CAF Champions League; that alone should tell you that this will not be a walk in the park but we are ready for anything.

“The coach and players have done well to get to this stage and they will not just want to let it all go to waste” says Mazingisa.

Stars will be without their trusted Malawian midfielder, Robert Ng’ambi who was shown a red card in their previous match against Vipers of Uganda.

Source: Confederation Africaine de Football

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