Happy Mashiane did get a feeling of the expectation on the team’s shoulders when they were greeted by a throng of supporters at the Mohammed V International Airport.
KAIZER Chiefs have literally stepped into the furnace upon arrival in Morocco ahead of their much-anticipated CAF Champions League final against Egyptians giants Al Ahly on Saturday evening.
Chiefs departed on a charter flight from a bitterly cold OR Tambo in Johannesburg via Nigeria enroute to a steaming Casablanca.
“We just arrived not so long ago at night. The weather is is humid and hot and we had to adjust. Things are going quite very well for now,” said Chiefs midfielder Happy Mashiane.
“The trip was fine, but it’s just too long. You do get tired and most of the time you must just walk around and stretch to get used to the travelling.”
The 23-year-old has played an integral part in Chiefs’ fortunes this season, having made 25 appreances across all competitions, including four in the Amakhosi’s dream run to their maiden CAF Champions League final.
Chiefs are hoping to join Orlando Pirates (1995) and Mamelodi Sundowns (2016) as the only South African teams to lift the coveted continental title.
They will, however, have to do it without their passionate fan base due to Covid-19 protocols as the match will be played in empty stadium.
Mashiane, though, did get a feeling of the expectation on the team’s shoulders when they were greeted by a throng of supporters at the Mohammed V International Airport.
“We do feel the vibe. There were people waiting for us at the airport, so we can feel the vibe. Playing a final where there is no supporters is not something we are going to get used to because football is a game that the supporters needs to be there for us to feel the atmosphere,” he said.
“So playing the final without them is not great because when you have supporters after every attempt, maybe regaining the ball, there will be a crowd who will cheer, and that makes you want to do better. So without the supporters it won’t be easy but we will work extra hard.”
Mashiane knows the entire Mzansi will be cheering Chiefs on in the final regardless of local affiliations and domestic rivalries, but he wants to bring the trophy home to one special person.
“We have worked very hard to reach the final. We now just need to work extra hard. We promise many many people that we’re going to take this thing back home. We will work extra hard,” he said.
“But before I left South Africa I was on a call with my mum and I promised her I will do my best and make her proud. I promised her I will bring it home and I need to make sure I keep my promise.”