Kaizer Chiefs in better shape for Angolan Champions League challenge
CAPE TOWN - Unpredictable Kaizer Chiefs are seeking an unlikely back-to-back Champions League win when they go up against Angolans Petro de Luanda at the Estádio 11 de Novembro in Luanda on Tuesday (6pm SA time kick-off).
In their last Group C outing, Chiefs defeated Luanda 2-0 at FNB Stadium 10 days ago, after scoring a goal in each half.
A depleted Chiefs side took their chances well and saw off a strong physical threat from the Angolan visitors.
Chiefs have not travelled well this season and in their only away Champions League match, they were soundly beaten 4-0 by Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club at a neutral venue in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
There was a lot of confusion leading up to that fixture, and it may have contributed to Chiefs’ poor performance.
This time, however, Chiefs’ preparations for their second trip into Africa have gone smoothly. The team flew out on Sunday on a special charter flight to Luanda. Yesterday the team had a workout at the match venue in the same time slot as today’s fixture as part of their acclimatisation strategy.
Coach Gavin Hunt has an 18-member squad to choose from, and that includes captain Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Serbian striker Samir Nurkovic, who both missed the win over Petro due to suspension and injury respectively.
Mphahlele said the technical staff had analysed the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition.
“We have prepared well and we have identified their strengths,” said Mphahlele.
“We know we defeated them when we didn’t have our strongest team, but we will not fall into a trap of being complacent.
“We cannot relax because we cannot take them for granted. The worse thing is for us to underestimate them.
“These Champions League teams play very differently at home. We have worked out how we will execute our gameplan. All we have to do is stay with the tactics that the coaches decide for this match.
“The most important thing is that we pick up three points which will improve our chances of making the knockout stages. It will be a big thing for the club.
“Whoever plays will have to support each other. We all know what our duties are.
“The senior players must make sure that we step up and be strong defensively.”
In the other Group C match today, Guinean champions Horoya host Wydad in Conakry, Guinea.