Kaizer Chiefs hope for upset of Wydad‚ arguably the strongest club in Africa
Kaizer Chiefs will hope their underdog stature and the fact that Wydad Casablanca may not expect much from the Caf Champions League group stage rookies can work in their favour in their match-up in Ouagadougou‚ Burkina Faso on Sunday.
Chiefs‚ after the Moroccan authorities denied them visas over Covid-19 concerns for the fixture originally scheduled for February 13‚ meet Wydad at Stade du 4 Aout (kickoff 6pm SA time) in the Burkina Faso capital. Amakhosi will hope for an upset win that would get them back into the fray in Group C after a disappointing start of a 1-1 draw at home against Guinea’s Horoya.
It would be some upset though. Wydad‚ the 2017 winners of the competition‚ have been arguably Africa’s strongest club of the last half-decade.
Their recent record in the Champions League has been formidable – since 2016 they have been semifinalists‚ champions‚ quarterfinalists‚ runners-up and semifinalists.
Chiefs’ veteran goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune‚ who has knowledge of the neutral venue having played there in Bafana Bafana’s 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw there in October 2016‚ said Amakhosi need to play for a win on Sunday.
“It’s a very tough match for us and we’re looking forward to bringing three points back home‚” he said.
“It’s going to be a difficult match as it’s not our home game. We will have to fight hard for the three points.
“I’ve been to Burkina Faso before with Bafana Bafana‚ and we managed to draw the match. So I will help the guys to acclimatise well‚ and to know what to expect in Ouagadougou.
“It’s not going not be an easy trip but we know what is expected of us. We have to go there and fight for the club and fight for the badge‚ and represent the whole nation and make the country proud.”
Defender Anthony Akumu‚ who faced Wydad for previous club Zesco United‚ said the prospect that the Moroccan giants probably know little about Chiefs‚ and perhaps will under-estimate the Soweto giants as they make their first-ever appearance in the Champions League group stage‚ might be an advantage for Amakhosi.
“I think the spirit is there‚ everyone is eager‚ because we didn’t get the maximum points in the first game we played of the group stage‚” Akumu said.
“Wydad are a good side. They have been in the competition many years‚ always semifinalists or quarterfinalists.
“So on our side maybe we look like underdogs‚ but that’s a good sign. Because maybe they don’t know us‚ and it’s a good thing.”
Horoya lead Group C with four points from two games‚ Wydad have three points from one match‚ Chiefs have a point‚ and Petro de Luanda of Angola have zero.