Supersport United coach Eric Tinkler will approach Wednesday’s game at Lucas Moripe Stadium against Chippa United with one eye on their trip to Ndola for the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup.
The Tshwane side will travel to Zambia to take on Zesco United at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium after facing the Chilli Boys midweek. Zesco held SuperSport to a goalless draw in the first leg in Atteridgeville on Friday. But before that clash with the Zambians, Matsatsantsa have to go past a Chippa side led by Teboho Moloi in the interim - a man Tinkler knows well from their days at Orlando Pirates.
“That’s why we always talk about having depth in your squad,” Tinkler said. “But you’ve also got to remember we can’t be making seven or eight changes. I doubt there is a team in the world that does it. If you watch the Real Madrid and Barcelonas of this world, players play Wednesday, Saturday and Wednesday. What becomes important is how we rest the players in between and how we assess them. We need to make certain changes to certain players we believe need that rest, hence the fact that I have rested Morgan (Gould) and Yeye (Reneilwe Letsholonyane) in the past. That’s the approach we will make going into the Chippa game.”
SuperSport have to do what no team has done in Ndola if they are to reach the semifinals of the Confederation Cup, beat Zesco or play to a draw with goals. The Zambian side have won all their games at home in this tournament to turn their stadium into a fortress.
“It would have been a better result if it was 1-1 instead of 0-0,” Zesco coach Zlatko Krmpotic said. “But I am satisfied with this result. We must play better though and we must play a more open game in Ndola if we are to go to the semifinals. We played the first leg tactically good. We must be better offensively in the second leg.”
The first leg was a dull affair. SuperSport started brightly but quickly fizzled out as they struggled to break down a stubborn Zesco side that defended deep. While this stage is uncharted territory for both teams, Tinkler is at home having been assistant coach at Pirates when they reached the 2013 CAF Champions League final and the head coach when they reached the 2015 Confederation Cup final. He knows how to play these two-legged affairs and get the result in tough conditions on the road.
“I think that they are going to play a lot more open in the second leg because they are going to need to look for a goal,” Tinkler said. “We must take our chances when we get our chances there. It’s going to be a tough trip because they are a tough team, well-structured by the coach.
"The advantage is I have been there and I have experienced what it takes to win these knockout games. Obviously this is not a difficult trip. It’s a two-hour trip. It’s like going to Cape Town, which is great because if you go to places like Algeria and Tunisia, it can take you 28-36 hours to get there. They’re around the corner. We will be prepared.”