TS Galaxy face an uphill battle against Nigeria’s Enyimba in the return leg of the Playoff of the Total CAF Confederation Cup.
Having suffered a 2-0 defeat in Aba last Sunday, Galaxy have a huge task of reversing a two-goal deficit against the two-time African champions.
However, Galaxy have established themselves as giant slayers and Sunday’s fixture provides the perfect opportunity to live up to their reputation that saw them shock Kaizer Chiefs at a packed Moses Mabhida stadium in the final of the Nedbank Cup (South Africa’s version of the FA Cup).
An aggregate win for “The Rockets”, as the Mpumalanga based club is affectionately known, would see them engrave their names in the African history books by the joining the elite league of second-tier clubs to reach the group stage of a CAF competition.
In 2005, Egyptian side Arab Contractors started their campaign in the CAF Confederation Cup whilst in the second-tier of Egyptian football; however by the time of the group stage they were back in the Egyptian top flight.
For South African football, this is the second time a club from the lower ranks competes in the CAF Confederation Cup following Black Leopards’ run which came short of the group stages after being edged 3-2 on aggregate by Sudanese club, Al Merreikh back in 2012.
Speaking to CAFO website earlier this week, Galaxy captain and goalkeeper, Ludwe Mpakumpaku said nothing was impossible and they would have to approach the match on Sunday like men going to war against the Nigerian powerhouse.
“We need to approach the game like men going to war! We know that we are on the backfoot and that requires us to go out there and get goals.
“The match will be a great test of character and the only way for us to win the psychological battle is to get an early goal because that would put them under pressure and give us the confidence to go at them even more” said the shot-stopper.
Galaxy will be wary of the danger posed by Victor Mbaoma and Marins Usule who scored in the 7th and 60th minutes respectively. The duo were quite a handful for the second tier side who held their own against the favourites.
The likes of Khayelihle Shozi, Sizwe Mdlinzo and Nation Ndlovu will have to be on song on Sunday and make the team tick to break the stubborn Enyimba defence who will know exactly how to approach such a game from their years of experience travelling and competing on the continent.
Meanwhile, Bidvest Wits have put one foot in the group stages with an important 2-1 away win in Mozambique against UD Songo last weekend ahead of Sunday’s return fixture.
A goal by Namibian international Deon Hotto and Sameehg Doutie put the “Students” in a relatively good position to secure a group stage pass should they hold off the reigning champions of Mozambique.
While Bidvest Wits club owner, Jose Ferreira was earlier in the year quoted as saying the CAF Confederation Cup was not a priority for the club, coach Gavin Hunt will be looking at using the competition to further improve his impressive CV as a coach on the continent.
Having won four league titles, three with Supersport Untied and one with Bidvest Wits, the 53-year-old knows the pedigree a CAF title holds on a coach’s CV.
“We want to go to the group stage. I want to win and was brought into the club to win trophies, so every competition is important. We fighting way above our weight with the number of players we have.
“We have a squad of 21 while other teams have 35 but that has not stopped us” said Hunt speaking to the public broadcaster earlier this week.