at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Pretoria – After their high-octane battle in Polokwane midweek, Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United now face litmus tests from unfamiliar faces as they embark on continental competitions on Saturday.
Chiefs and SuperSport, who battled it out in a league match won by Chiefs on Wednesday, will be South Africa’s representatives in the CAF Champions League and Caf Confederations Cup this year.
They face relatively unknown sides from southern African.
Chiefs will do battle against Namibian side Black Africa FC at the FNB Stadium, while SuperSport square off against Botswana outfit Gaborone United at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
The PSL giants will be looking to emulate and replicate the exploits of Orlando Pirates, who went all the way to the final of the champions league where they lost to Egyptians greats Al Ahly.
However, what is of interest is how the local teams will fare against the lesser known teams on the continent.
Those familiar with the two teams say Chiefs and SuperSport need to brace themselves for a torrid time on the pitch.
University of Pretoria midfielder and Namibian national team captain Ronald Ketjijere sheds some light on to what Chiefs can expect from Black Africa FC.
“Black Africa is a brilliant team. They are quite a decent side. They are ready to compete on the continent. Most players play in the national team. They have great experience and are going to give Chiefs a run for their money,” said Ketjijere.
“If Chiefs become complacent and undermine them, they might be surprised. They have youngsters and they run. They will come to compete. It won’t be a walk in the park for Chiefs.”
Ketjijere used to play for Black Africa FC’s rivals – Africa Stars FC.
“When we met them, it used to be hotly contested matches. Africa FC is a top team in Namibia. They have won the league in the past three years. It’s going to be a good game. We are looking forward to seeing the guys doing our country proud. They will be playing for the whole country.”
Ketjijere’s teammate Dipsy Selolwane, a former midfielder for SuperSport and Gaborone United, draws comparisons between the teams he turned out for.
He says the experience of his former coach Major David Bright, who is in charge of the Botswana side will play a big role on the game.
“Major Bright is a coach with lots of experience internationally. He is pretty sound. It’s going to be a great game. The guys from Botswana have nothing to lose. It’s a huge stage for others to outperform themselves. It’s a great platform for them. They have to risk. You can’t win games without taking a risk,” said Selolwane, who played for Gaborone United before going to play in the US before coming to South Africa.
Selolwane says the level of professionalism in the PSL would give the three times PSL champions an advantage.
“Though both are rich in tradition, the difference between them and SuperSport is that the South Africans are more professional with a big budget.
“But football is a great leveller in life. We hope to see a good game. SuperSport play short passes and emphasise creativity, which is good. I like their philosophy,” said the former Botswana captain. “Gaborone United are the cup kings. They have about three players in the national team. They are in the top four. They seem to do well.”
Both Chiefs and SuperSport have participated in the tournaments before. Though they face new teams, it won’t be unfamiliar territory at all for them.