Tuesday Feb 13, 2018. 15:00
SuperSport United coach Eric Tinkler has admitted that he may be prepared to sacrifice this year’s CAF Confederation Cup campaign, as he prioritises their domestic concerns.
The South African side were runners-up in the Confederation Cup in 2017, narrowly losing out to DR Congo giants TP Mazembe in the final.
Yet the strain of balancing continental competition with domestic duties has taken a strain on United, who are placed a lowly 11th on the South African top flight log, just three points above the relegation zone.
“For us, I think this season so far has been quite an exceptional season, when we look at the  Nedbank Cup and then, obviously, the Confederation Cup and MTN8,” said Tinkler, as quoted by Kick-Off.
“But the league is always priority and, for us as a club, we need to be finishing in the top eight – top six preferably. Our aspirations in the beginning of the season was obviously higher – we were looking to go for the title.
“I honestly believe what happened in Africa really did hurt us as a team, and right now we need to be questioning how far we really want to go in this year’s CAF competition, knowing what effects it had on the team and the squad.”
United’s slump in form in the wake of last year’s Confed Cup campaign has convinced Tinkler that they need to have a bigger player base to call on.
“One thing it has taught us is that we probably need to have a bigger squad if we want to take the CAF competition more serious,” he added.
“We have a squad of 27 players, of which a few are youngsters, and the amount of injuries and players feeling the effects of what has been two long seasons has obviously been to the detriment of our league position.
“We need to now think carefully of what we want to do going forward. It’s not a case of us not wanting to take the competition serious, it’s just that it falls in a period where our league is more important.
“I will field what I believe to be a more inexperienced team in the first qualifying rounds, but I believe those players are more than capable of getting through those rounds.”
SuperSport will enter the 2018 Confed Cup in the first round, which is set to get underway on the midweek of 6-7 March. Their likely opponents are Angola’s Petro Atletico.