Amakhosi skipper Ramahlwe Mphahlele is looking forward to Chiefs’ CAF Champions League opening group stage encounter against Guinean side Horoya this evening at the FNB Stadium. He believes Amakhosi will manage the game to give a good account for themselves after their spirited performance against SuperSport United in their last outing a 1-1 draw in a DStv Premiership encounter this past Saturday.
With Horoya next on the horizon for Chiefs, Mphahlele believes that Amakhosi’s last game against SuperSport can be used as a yard stick for them as they look to improve game by game.
“The match against SuperSport was good especially coming from a loss against AmaZulu,” he says. “We had to fight back, and I think the guys played well. The only thing we did not do right was finish the chances we created on the day.”
While Mphahlele was pleased by Chiefs response against SuperSport on the back of a loss to AmaZulu, he does hope that the team can learn from their errors as they move ahead. “Again, we need to minimise our mistakes,” he reiterates, “keep clean sheets and score goals. If we are to win games, it’s something we have been working on and hopefully it comes off today.”
With Chiefs having just played on Saturday and being in action so soon, Mphahlele who himself has just recently returned to action from injury, says that Chiefs will be ready for the grueling schedule that lies ahead.
“The matches are coming back-to-back – there’s no time to rest,” he adds. ”We had one day to prepare for the Horoya game. I think it’s sometimes better to play a lot of football so we can rectify mistakes and get better. We trained on Monday, we then need to do video analysis and know who we are playing against.”
Mphahlele is well aware of the challenges of playing in the CAF Champions League as opposed to domestic competitions. “The DStv Premiership games are faster whereas in the Champions League games are more physical and tactical,” he notes. “Most teams rely on set pieces so it’s going to be an interesting match.
“A positive start to the competition against Horoya is what is needed for us as Chiefs to have a long stay in the competition. We are playing at home for the first game of the group stages and we are looking forward to the it. It’s no secret that we want the three points. We want to start well as it will give us confidence and we want to progress to the knockout stages.”
Before Chiefs can think too far ahead, Horoya are their first target and Mphahlele is well aware of the threats posed by them as he has been watching their progress for a while now. “I have watched Horoya a lot over the past few seasons and when they played their opening group game against Petro Luanda,” he confirms. “They are a very strong team physically and tactically sound. We have to prepare ourselves and so we don’t get caught out.
“We will try and play our game. We are going to put them under pressure by trying for an early goal and unsettle them. It’s important to win our home games.”
The game against Horoya will be Chiefs first in the group stages of the CAF Champions League. They also have Angolan side Petro de Luanda and Moroccan outfit Wydad Casablanca for company in Group C. the game will be streamed live on SABC sport online at 18:00.