Saturday Aug 10, 2019. 13:00
South African second-tier side TS Galaxy will write more history for the fledgling club when they host Saint Louis Suns United of the Seychelles in their CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round clash at the Mbombela Stadium on Sunday.
Galaxy earned their place in the competition by becoming the first lower division side to win South Africa’s FA Cup when they defeated Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs in a shock result in the final in May.
For a club that was only formed in July 2018, it has been a meteoric rise, engineered by lawyer-turned agent-turned club owner Tim Sukazi.
They are coached by Dan Malesela, a popular tactician who plays attacking football, but has not found much success in previous stints in the South African top-flight.
He has got Galaxy to play organised, structured football, and Sukazi has used his business acumen and contacts to build a good squad of players.
This will be their first competitive fixture since that Nedbank Cup final win in May, with the National First Division season only set to kick-off next weekend.
The obvious question will be how a team in the lower reaches can afford to participate in what is a costly competition, but Sukazi says there is a plan and they will take their African club campaign seriously as they seek to build a brand known across the continent.
“We take all the three competitions that we will be playing in very seriously and that includes the Confederation Cup‚” Sukazi told reporters.
“Our preparations have gone well and we have put ourselves in an unthinkable situation.
“In the First Division‚ we ordinarily have to comply with the lowest requirements but now we have to comply with what is higher than the PSL. Participating in Caf is extremely costly for any club‚ especially for a young club in the First Division without a sponsor.
“It is extremely costly but we have to find a way of making ends meet. We are in discussions with the Mbombela municipality and they are willing to help us in every possible way.
“The Department of Sports in Mpumalanga may come to the party to support this team.
“This will be for the first time a Mpumalanga club plays an official CAF match in the province and we are looking forward to that.”
Sukazi adds that it has been a real eye-opener for his side as to the financial and other obligations required to compete on the continent, with CAF having turned down their request to use their usual home, the Kameelrivier Stadium.
“Everything is a shock to the system because of a vast number of issues that we must comply with‚” he said. “It is simple matters like paying travelling expenses for match officials which comes at a huge cost.
“You get match officials from the Comoros and if you take them more than 200 kilometers outside the main port of entry‚ and you have to take care of their travelling expenses.
“It is an interesting journey and a big learning curve for us. But it is preparing us for the future because we are the team for the future and we have no choice but to grab the bulls by its horns.
“We are allowing ourselves the opportunity to learn so that one day when we graduate to the PSL‚ we are ready because we would have learned.”