Durban — AmaZulu look to be a completely different team in the DStv Premiership and in the CAF Champions League.
Usuthu look like a well oiled machine when they play in Africa’s Premier club competition. They eliminated continental giants TP Mazembe in the qualification round to reach the group stage and should they defeat ES Setif in Algeria on Saturday evening, they will inch closer to qualifying for the knockout rounds of the continental competition.
On the other hand, they have been underwhelming in the Premiership, so much so that at their current rate, they might just struggle to finish in the top eight unless they undergo a late season turnaround. Usuthu club chairman Sandile Zungu highlighted earlier in the season that he hoped for the club to finish in the top four as well as win one piece of silverware.
AmaZulu have won their last two Champions League games which included a 1-0 win over Setif at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban during their last outing.
Captain Makhehlene Makhaula is aware that Setif are likely to be much more improved now that they will be playing at home.
“They have a new coach and they will want revenge. We are going there with a full squad and a good mentality. The preparations have been good and everything is in order for us,” said Makhaula.
One player for AmaZulu who has been very disappointing of late is reigning player of the season Veli Mothwa. The 31-year-old’s positioning has been disappointing of late and he gifted SuperSport United two goals last weekend in a league fixture which Usuthu lost 2-0 despite dominating possession.
Mothwa’s form of late means that there are valid reasons for him to be dropped. However, considering that the Bafana Bafana backup goalie played a big role in AmaZulu getting to the group stage of the competition with some heroic saves in the preliminary rounds, it appears likely that Benni McCarthy will continue to retain faith in him.
AmaZulu are second in Group B with six points and three behind leaders Raja Casablanca. A win will give them a good chance of making the knockout rounds. A convincing defeat against Setif will mean that AmaZulu likely drop down to third in the group.
While a win will be welcome, a draw in North Africa could also be a result worth celebrating for AmaZulu as it will only add more pressure on Setif.