Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - Platinum Stars went on a charm offensive in Mbabane on Monday as they visited a school, to the delight of the pupils.

Whether that CSI gig, which had the youngsters cheering at the top of their lungs, and the teachers gawking at the players they usually only see on the television will have earned them local support remains to be seen.

Dikwena take on Mbabane Swallows at Somhlolo Stadium in Lobamba on Tuesday night in their second Group B match of the Caf Confederation Cup eager to chalk up a win after drawing their opening game.

It is generally said that the best way to navigate the mini-league phase of any competition is to win your home matches and draw on the road. Stars were held 1-1 in Rustenburg by MC Alger a fortnight ago and need victory against Swallows if they are to stay in contention for progression to the knockout stage reserved only for the top two in the four-team group.

Swallows were beaten 1-0 by CS Sfaxien and will be out to kick-start their campaign with home success. It is a clash coach Cavin Johnson sees as evenly-poised but confident his team can win.

“Both of us are in the group stage for the first time so it should be a good game. I believe these are two teams that are evenly-balanced and hopefully a good crowd comes through for a good game,” he says.

That the match will be played on an astro-turf surface does not bother Johnson and his team.

“We played on astro-turf in the Ivory Coast (against AS Tanda in the preliminary round) and we have two such fields at home in Rustenburg and we trained there.

“Also, I’ve had some experience playing against Swallows way back when I was with (Mamelodi) Sundowns and I think we beat them 3-1. Hopefully we win again.”

His captain Vuyo Mere says making their group stage debut has not brought about any undue pressure on the team.

“It’s a new challenge playing in the group stage for the first time. But there’s no pressure and we are not putting ourselves under any pressure. We are just excited to be here and we want to do well to go through to the knockout stage.”

The competition is still in its infancy and the key for Stars will have to take it one step at a time to realise their objective of a spot in the quaterfinals. And a win over Swallows will be a step in the right direction.

The Star

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