Igesund lauds brave Leopards

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Leopards_Merreikh1 Gallo Images David Zulu of Leopards in action against Al-Merreikh.

Johannesburg – Gordon Igesund praised Black Leopards for their “brave showing” despite their failure on Saturday to qualify for the last-eight round robin stage of Caf's Confederation Cup.

They drew the second-leg 0-0 with Sudan's Al Merreikh at Ellis Park after being beaten 3-2 by Al Merreikh in the first-leg in the Sudan two weeks ago.

Bafana Bafana's recently-appointed coach said the battling Limpopo Province team had proved an example to the Premier League's top clubs in reaching the last 16 stage of the Confederation and coming within a whisker of emerging the first South African side to qualify for the round robin stage since 2006.

“It has to be remembered that Leopards were struggling to avoid relegation for much of last season,” said Igesund.

“Yet, with a strictly limited budget, they managed to put up a creditable performance in the testing environment of African competition.

“This is where it all starts and, if our leading PSL clubs are not holding their own in Africa, it is a step backward for the national team to be a force as well.

“I don't think anyone will dispute that our record in Caf club tournaments in recent years has been nothing to be proud about.”

A South African team has only been successful in Caf's premier Champions League on one occasion and Orlando Pirates' singular triumph goes back 17 years.

The country's only success in the Confederation Cup goes back 11 years and was achieved by Kaizer Chiefs. – Sapa

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