Sekhukhune United … Being rookies in Confederation Cup is no excuse

Lehlohonolo Seema, head coach of Sekhukhune United during the CAF Confederation Cup 2023/24 match between Sekhukhune United and Diables Noirs at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane

As they prepare for their third group match in the CAF Confederation Cup, Sekhukhune United are aware that being first timers will not cut it as an excuse should they fail to reach the knockout stages. Seen here: Sekhukhune United coach Lehlohonolo Seema during a match. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Dec 10, 2023


Sekhukhune United are not making much of their rookie status in continental football because they know that it means nothing to the opposition.

As they prepare for their third group match in the CAF Confederation Cup, Ba Bina Noko are aware that being first timers will not cut it as an excuse should they fail to reach the knockout stages.

“The other teams don’t care that we are new and still learning and we shouldn’t either,” coach Lehlohonolo Seema said in the pre-match media conference ahead of their Group D clash with Stade Malien at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday night (9pm).

“Yes we are on a learning curve, but we want to win games. We are not saying that we are new and we will take just any result. No, we want to win and that’s why we have been trying and working hard because we want to make ourselves known in Africa.

Fight for maximum points

“We want to be able to say we managed to get in the last stages of this competition. We fight for maximum points in every match we play. We are fighting while learning and we really want to do well in the competition because it will be great for the team and brand as well as to reward the management for getting us this far.”

It is for those reasons that Seema and his technical team have done their homework on their next opponents, with whom they appear to be challenging for the second place spot behind Morocco’s RS Berkane who seem set to win the group.

The Moroccans are top of the table with maximum points from two matches while Sekhukhune and Malien are both on three points having both lost to the former champions from North Africa, and been victorious against Congo Brazzaville’s Daibles Noirs.

“We have seen some footage of a team that is very good; very physically strong; have a good structure; they don’t give a lot away; they have a lot of speed and they got most of their goals through the break or transition.

“We are preparing ourselves, ready for a very difficult game. Let’s see how it goes because there are two teams that both understand that whoever wins gives themselves a good chance of advancing to the next round. It’s going to be a very tough game and I don’t think they will wait and sit and try to defend. They know that with a good result they would have done themselves a huge favour.

“As Sekhukhune United we have to win our games at home to give ourselves a chance. A draw will help them instead of us. So we must take maximum points.”

Not taking anything for granted

Victorious in their last two matches at home, against Daibles and Chippa United, Sekhukhune are not taking anything for granted as they prepare to host the team from Mali.

“The two wins we have had in the last games mean nothing. We have forgotten about them. The players are not walking on air because of that. They are not sleeping in the analysis room or being lazy in training. They are focused and are remaining professional because they know that no spot is guaranteed. When we train all of us are training, because they understand that at any given time you will be called to help the team.”

He dismissed the idea that Malien would want the victory more than Sekhukhune given that they were defeated (by Berkane) in their last match.

“Past results make both teams dangerous. Obviously if you are coming from a defeat you come and try to bounce back immediately, but that does not make them more dangerous. We are just as hungry as they are.”


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