6 months ago
Willard Katsande is back for Kaizer Chiefs ahead of their Confed Cup clash against Zambian side Zesco United on Sunday.  ~ 

SOWETO giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs are on an African safari this weekend in their bid to enhance their chances of qualifying for the Africa Champions League and Confederation Cup knockout stages.

Pirates and Chiefs are away to neighbours Zimbabwe and Zambia respectively in their opening Champions League group matches.

Bucs will leave for Bulawayo today where they will tackle FC Platinum tomorrow at the Barbourfields Stadium (3pm).

Amakhosi will meet Zesco United in the Confederation Cup at Zambia’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium at the copper mines of Ndola on Sunday at the same time.

Elsewhere, Mamelodi Sundowns face Nigerian outfit Lobi Stars in the other Champions League group stage match at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, in Enugu tonight (6pm).

The Brazilians are on a mission to retain the trophy they won in 2016 having failed to defend it the following year, while they got booted out in the quarterfinal stage last year. Downs coach Pitso Mosimane will be forced to reshuffle his attack to win the match as they travelled without striker Jeremy Brockie who is suspended.

However, the Soweto giants will approach their matches with their heads held up high, having registered morale boosting victories in the Absa Premiership in midweek.

Bucs beat relegation haunted Chippa United 4-2 at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday, while Amakhosi brought log leaders Bidvest Wits down to earth with a 2-0 win at Milpark’s Bidvest Stadium the following day.

But Pirates’ speedy winger Kudakwashe Mahachi has warned his teammates not to rest on their laurels in Bulawayo as they might be disappointed.

Having played for Zimbabwean Premier League sides, Chicken Inn and Highlanders before he joined Sundowns in 2014, Mahachi knows their opponents well and warns on any complacency.

The Zimbabwean international carries a super substitute tag as he has scored two goals in two consecutive league matches for Bucs, coming from the bench.

He helped Pirates to a 2-2 draw with Highlands Park and against the Chilli Boys.

Said Mahachi: “I know Barbourfields well because I have played many games there. FC Platinum are a good side. We need to take the game seriously.”

Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic was busy sorting out their leaky defence during training to avoid conceding. Bucs conceded four goals in two league games in a row.

On the other hand, Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp has urged his players to be calm and forget about their great win over the Clever Boys.

Middendorp told SunSport: “We must not rush things and panic against Zesco.

“We must keep calm and do the right things in Zambia to come back home with a good result. Willard Katsande is coming back (from injury) and that is a big boost for the club. The plan is to win the game in Zambia to make it easier at the FNB Stadium in the return leg (next Friday).”

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