Home Sport CAF CONFED CUP: Play-offs the focus of SA hopefuls

CAF CONFED CUP: Play-offs the focus of SA hopefuls

127

SuperSport host Egypt’s Modern Future FC at 3pm, while Sekhukhune battle it out with RS Berkane of Morocco at 9pm, and the coaches of the two outfits have made it clear they are aware of what is at stake.

Supersport United Coach Gavin Hunt. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, African News Agency (ANA)

SOUTH Africa’s involvement in the CAF Confederation Cup is at risk of coming to a premature end, with both the country’s representatives “united” by their need for victory at all costs at the penultimate stage of the continent’s secondary cup competition.

SuperSport United and Sekhukhune United are involved in a “double header” at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday with both sides’ slim hopes of progressing to the knockout phase hinging on their having to beat north African opposition.

SuperSport host Egypt’s Modern Future FC at 3pm, while Sekhukhune battle it out with RS Berkane of Morocco at 9pm, and the coaches of the two outfits have made it clear they are aware of what is at stake.

“We have prepared properly for the game and we’ll try to do well to go through,” said Gavin Hunt, the SuperSport coach, admitting that it will be a tough match given the kick-off time.

“We are looking forward to the game, but it is going to be a stop-start match, given the weather.”

Matsatsantsa a Pitori prop up their group with a mere three points from four matches and, with their opponents on seven points in second place, anything less than victory for Hunt’s men will see their final group match away to USM Alger merely of academic interest.

The bad news for Hunt, who had a smile on his face given the availability of stalwart defender and captain Thulani Hlatshwayo whom he intends to use as a substitute, is that Modern Future are looking to seal qualification today, given the tough domestic campaign awaiting them from now on.

“The Egyptian Premier League schedule is very crowded, so if we win this match we get to qualify early. It will be good for us because the pressure will be less on us,” said goalkeeper Mahmoud Genish.

His coach, Tamer Mostafa, said they are concentrating on ensuring they stay in the top two on the table and are not worried about what their opposition are up to.

If SuperSport’s hopes of progression look bleak, there is some hope for a Sekhukhune outfit that believe that they can inflict Berkane’s maiden defeat of the campaign.

On four points with two matches to go, coach Lehlohonolo Seema is confident that his men can win tonight to send the battle for the knockout spot down to the wire. Sekhukhune complete their campaign away to a Diables Noirs side they beat in the first round and they are confident of repeating the dose.

It is a tall ask, though, against the two-time winners who are looking to regain their title after failing to defend it last year after winning in 2022.

“It’s a big match because we are facing a very strong team and we need nothing but a win to stay in contention (for a place in the knockouts),” said Seema.

“We have prepared well and we are playing at home where we have a good record (they are unbeaten after a win and a draw), so we are confident.

“Our only concern is that they might be way fresher than us because they last played on the 17th, while we were in action on Wednesday.

“It is something that makes me want to cry because in other countries they give their clubs time to prepare for continental competitions. I hope we can get to a stage where we do the same here at home.”

Matshelane Mamabolo

Previous articleNavalny’s ‘tortured’ body handed over to his mother
Next articleFlooded Greek lake a warning to European farmers battling climate change