Bidvest Wits, Platinum Stars and SuperSport United were all in Confederation Cup play-off action this weekend - the Clever Boys being held to a goalless draw by Egyptian side Smouha in Milpark on Saturday afternoon, while Dikwena were thumped 2-0 by AS Tanda of Ivory Coast.
SuperSport, meanwhile, managed a crucial away goal against Liberia’s Barrack Young Controllers in a 1-1 stalemate on the same day.
The result in Johannesburg was probably the most disappointing and the odds will be heavily stacked against Wits when they travel to Alexandria for their second leg against Smouha this coming weekend.
Dikwena host Tanda, but will need to score three times to progress to the group stages. The competition has been a morale booster for Dikwena, who have hardly put a foot wrong in the domestic league due to their impressive run in the continental tournament.
Wits fielded a weakened team on Saturday and have almost certainly paid the price, but the impression is that coach Gavin Hunt wouldn’t mind getting rid of the “distraction” to concentrate fully on the Clever Boys’ Absa Premiership title charge.
SuperSport are also in a similar boat, but proved a tough customer for BYC as young Fagrie Lakay grabbed the all-important away goal, meaning a goalless draw would be enough for Stuart Baxter’s men to book their place in the group stages of the Confederation Cup.
The Tshwane side also left behind some of their big guns at home, but their starting line-up was still quite impressive as goalkeeper Ronwen Williams is making a steady return to action following a lengthy period on the sidelines.
The draw for the group stages in scheduled for April 26, alongside that of the CAF Champions League, where South African have reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns as representatives.