Kaizer Chiefs could suddenly be South Africa’s only flag bearers after CAF deciders
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The once-mighty Kaizer Chiefs are shaping up as the unlikely lone flag bearers for South African football on the African continent by the time the Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup quarter-finals are decided this weekend.
Chiefs shocked friend and foe alike over the weekend when they overwhelmed Tanzanian giants Simba SC to the tune of 4-0, and the margin could well have been bigger. The 4-0 win marks one of the biggest yet by a SA team on the continent.
Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, both former Champions League winners, are the only two SA teams to record runaway wins in Africa.
Over time, Sundowns and Pirates have enjoyed 5-0 and 3-0 wins over Al Ahly, the aristocrats of African football. The Egyptian giants have won the Champions League nine times.
The other two big wins by Sundowns and Pirates were against Zamalek, fellow Egyptians who are the second most successful African club side with five Champions
League titles. Sundowns and Pirates have 3-0 and 3-1 wins over Zamalek.
Chiefs scored their historic 4-0 win in their debut Champions League quarter-final appearance. It has ensured that they have one foot in the door for the semi-finals, as it is hard to think that Chiefs will leak four goals this weekend in the return leg in Dar es Salaam.
One person who thinks it is possible is Simba coach Didier Gomes, who is plotting a miracle comeback and guide his team to the semis.
“Anything can happen because this is football,” said Gomes. “We are not happy with the outcome, but we still have hope.
"We weren't tough enough for this kind of match. It's very important to very aggressive, particularly in the duels.
"As I said before the match, Chiefs are very good offensively, and they have a clean sheet which proves they are solid.
"Even with their bad situation in the league, we didn't underestimate them.
"For sure, we are disappointed, but we are alive, and we are breathing, and when you breathe, you have hopes, so we keep our minds on that.
"It is important to believe that you can change the process, but if we want to do something good next week, we have to be aggressive and efficient."
Chiefs' have been underwhelming all season and scored their biggest of the campaign on the back of a protest by their supporters, a day before the match.
Gavin Hunt thought the fans’ protest may have helped to bring the best out of his team.
"Maybe that helped us win. Maybe we need more marches," said Hunt after the match.
"You've got to respect the supporters. They are feeling the pain, and we all do. They are only voicing their grievances.
"It's about the next game, and that's what football is about. We must knuckle down and give the supporters what we can."