A second-string Wydad Casablanca arrived in Johannesburg a few days ago after more than 20 hours of traveling and the Moroccan giants are without their experienced coach Faouzi Benzarti due to ‘health reasons’.
The 71-year-old Benzarti, who has won the Caf Confederation Cup twice reportedly took his Covid-19 vaccine shot on Thursday. “The coach is not with us physically, but he is with us with his heart and philosophy,” said Wydad’s assistant coach, Mohamed Benchrifa.
“He [Benzarti] is not with us because he had to take his second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine, we are very worried about his health and the doctor asked him to stay in Casablanca.”
Wydad are under-strength and Kaizer Chiefs will fancy their chances of avenging their 4-0 loss to Wydad in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso in February when they host the former Caf Champions League champions at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening (18:00).
However, Wydad’s assistant Benchrifa made it clear that it will not be a walk in the park for ‘Amakhosi’. “Wydad of Casablanca is a great team, and we play match by match. We have a great team with great players,” he said.
‘We have a great team with great players. In Wydad we have many good players. We know that our players play for our national team, and all other players are ready to play.”
Wydad have already qualified for the knockout stage at the summit of their group with 10 points, and Horoya of Guinea and Kaizer Chiefs (five points) are separated by goal difference. Anglola’s Petro de Luanda have a point.
“We are playing for three competitions — the Champions League, our national championship, and for our cup. We have several players who have the same level. The players who are with us have already played in many matches.
“For our head coach, this match gives the possibility for some players to play some matches at a high level. Every player knows the responsibility and what he has to do,” concluded Benchrifa.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi