Kaizer Chiefs punching above their weight but here’s why Wydad remain favourites
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DURBAN - Kaizer Chiefs fans will do well to keep that champagne on ice ahead of this weekend’s second leg of the CAF Champions League semi-final against Wydad Casablanca.
Undoubtedly, the Glamour Boys did fantastically well to beat Wydad away from home and they deserve praise for that.
But the shock victory was also made possible by goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma who delivered the greatest performance of his career in the game.
There is no doubt that the away team will once again be looking to test the Chiefs shot-stopper at the FNB Stadium on Saturday and it would be unrealistic for the club to expect heroics from him in every game.
Should Chiefs win the Champions League despite their poor league form, it will not be the first time such a situation has happened. Roberto Di Matteo famously won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012 despite his side having finished sixth in the English Premier League that season.
If Chiefs play a high defensive line and frustrate Wydad, they should be able to get the job done and possibly even score against the run of play.
For the Soweto giants to achieve the unlikely, their team as a whole will have to play their part. All they need to do is prevent Wydad from winning by a big score.
The following factors could work in the Moroccan outfit’s favour in the second leg ...
Wydad have more experience in Africa
Should Chiefs advance to the final of the Champions League, it will be the first time in their history that they would have done so. By contrast, Casablanca reached the final of the competition in 2019 and last won it in 2017.
Their superior experience in continental football will work in their favour. On the road to the final in 2019, Wydad also topped a group that featured Pitso Mosimane’s Mamelodi Sundowns and eliminated the South African football giants in the semi-finals of the competition.
If they could eliminate Sundowns at a similar stage of the competition fairly recently, they will feel confident that they can get the job done against Chiefs.
They will be confident due to their better league form
Wydad are on course to win the league in Morocco. They top the standings, ahead of Raja Casablanca, by six points with seven games remaining.
The Moroccan league is physically demanding and, judging by how Raja Casablanca outclassed Orlando Pirates in the CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinals, it’s safe to say that the North African league is probably more competitive than the South African Premiership.
Wydad would have also done thorough research of the Chiefs squad and learnt that they were beaten recently at their home fortress by SuperSport United, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and Orlando Pirates.
Wydad are certainly a technically stronger side than the aforementioned trio and so they are capable of beating Chiefs in their own backyard.
Chiefs have lapsed several times this season
Kaizer Chiefs have made several comical errors domestically this season but have somehow looked a completely different side in continental competition.
Domestically, they were eliminated from the Nedbank Cup by GladAfrica Championship side Richards Bay and finished eighth in the league, below the likes of Golden Arrows, SuperSport, Moroka Swallows and Cape Town City.
Due to the quality of their players, they should have finished ahead of the four teams, especially City whose defence resembled that of a team facing relegation.