Kaizer Chiefs defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele expects an intense game against Angola side Primeiro de Agosto when they clash in the Caf Champions League on Wednesday at the FNB Stadium. The veteran defender has warned his teammates that things are ‘dirty in Africa’ as they prepare to host the 2018 semi-finalists in a bid to book a berth in the group stages.
Chiefs host the Angolan giants on Wednesday in a first round, first leg match at FNB Stadium as they aim to progress to the group stages for the first time. Kick off time is 18h00. With a shaky campaign on the domestic scene, Amakhosi will look to get it right in the prestigious African club football premier competition. But up to this stage, they will know their preliminary round display against lowly Cameroonian side PWD Bamenda was unconvincing as admitted by their coach Gavin Hunt.
And Mphahlele, who was somewhat involved in Mamelodi Sundowns’ 2016 triumphant campaign, knows the battle gets tougher as the competition progresses. Agosto, on the other hand, will be buoyed by their 2018 run in which they reached the competition’s semi-final.
“The Champions League is a different ball game. You are meeting people that you have never seen. Some of the players at Primeiro play for the [Angola] national team and we know them,” Mphahlele told Chiefs’ media. He noted that locally they play opponents they know and “tend to get a little bit soft” but with Africa “it’s a dog eat dog”.
But he knows just the right response and has called on his teammates to “fight because it’s a once-off game and it’s dirty in Africa”. “Playing there is hard, the conditions are hard. It’s not the best, so it’s a different ball game to play in the Champions League. I just hope that we are prepared for it and we will give it everything we have. We are preparing well, we know they are a good team,” he continued.
He also believes it will be important to make the most of home advantage even though there are no fans at the stadium. “Obviously we are playing at home and we want to get good results so that when we go to Angola, we have a chance of reaching the group stage,” he added.
A win for Chiefs will take the pressure off Hunt’s charges after going six matches without a straight win.
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By Mthokozisi Dube