Kaizer Chiefs defender Tefu Mashamaite says Amakhosi should guard against behaving like “Europeans” or “cry babies” as they prepare for their toughest test yet in the CAF Champions League against DRC club AS Vita on Sunday.
Last season Orlando Pirates played Vita’s rivals, TP Mazembe, at this stage of the competition in Lubumbashi, defying odds to progress to the group stages even though captain Lucky Lekgwathi was sent off in the first half and two penalties were awarded to the hosts in front of a hostile crowd.
Bucs’ rivals, Chiefs, are likely to go through similar drama on Sunday, and Mashamaite, Amakhosi’s most trusted defender this season, believes the players are mentally ready to deal with whatever is thrown at them in this second round first-leg clash in Kinshasa.
“I don’t think it’s bad as it’s made out to be. And, besides, at the end of the day we’re playing in our continent. We are not going to be cry babies when we go there and we should not go there to behave like Europeans.
“We are venturing into the DRC and take everything as it comes.
“We should stay positive and get a positive result,” the former Bidvest Wits defender said yesterday, as Amakhosi were preparing to fly out to the DRC after victory over Ajax Cape Town in the league in midweek.
Vita, who are no powerhouses in African football, have won both their matches in the competition at home this season, beating Kano Pillars 3-1 in the preliminary round before edging Zimbabwean club Dynamos 1-0 in the previous stage.
Meanwhile, Amakhosi have not lost away from home, drawing one and winning the other thus far.
“So far we have played two games away from home. The results have been positive.
“But the more we progress in the competition the harder it’s going get.
“The first two games were in Namibia and Mozambique against weaker sides compared to what we are still going to encounter in Africa.
“I think every level we reach will be the biggest challenge. There is a different challenge every time you progress.
“So it’s about psyching yourself up. If you believe in what you’re doing, then you can do well.”
The last two times when Vita were knocked out in the competition, they lost their home games to ASO Chlef of Algeria and Cameroon’s Coton Sport, so Chiefs have reason to believe they can get a good result to bring home ahead of the second leg.
“We’re looking for a win or at the very least, a draw. If we can win it, why not?
“But I am not saying it’s going to be easy.”
Meanwhile, Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter knows the hostile crowd will make life difficult for Amakhosi.
“We want a result so we can go for a result at home.
“We’re expecting a battle. Between now and the game these lads have to get themselves up for it because it will be a battle.
“It will be all the shenanigans that we know about and we have got to deal with that.”
The league-winning coach says he would have loved for his boys to train on astro-turf ahead of the game.
“It would be nice to have a session on an astro-turf pitch, because we are playing on one on Sunday.
“We don’t have that luxury. But we have some intelligence on them. I did see some chinks in their armour.” – The Star