Kaizer Chiefs eye redemption, CAF CL final spot

Kaizer Chiefs eye redemption, CAF CL final spot
Kaizer Chiefs players during a warm up session.

by Bertin Basson

Thursday Jun 17, 2021. 17:00

Kaizer Chiefs will set their sights on redemption when they meet Wydad Casablanca in a 2020-21 CAF Champions League first-leg semifinal match at Stade Mohammed V on Saturday evening.

Kick-off is at 21h00 CAT.

The Amakhosi booked their spot in the final four of this season’s competition with a 4-3 aggregate win over Simba. The South African giants lost 3-0 in Tanzania but had done enough in the first-leg to schedule another meeting with Wydad in this season’s competition.

Wydad edged past MC Alger 2-1 on aggregate in the quarterfinal stage to keep their hopes of winning a third Champions League trophy alive.

Chiefs and Wydad have already met on two occasions this year. The Moroccans thumped Chiefs 4-0 at Stade du 4 Août in Ouagadougou in the first of two Group C meetings only to lose 1-0 in the reverse fixture at FNB Stadium.

Despite that a morale-boosting win in Soweto, Chiefs will go into this weekend’s match as underdogs on the back of a difficult league season in which they could only conjure an eighth place finish.

Gavin Hunt was duly replaced as head coach by Stuart Baxter who will not be in the dug-out when they face Wydad in the first-leg on Saturday as he awaits to receive his work permit.

Instead it will be the duo of Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard on the touchline. The Chiefs assistant coaches guided the Glamour Boys to back-to-back DStv Premiership wins to end the campaign and will be hoping for a surprise victory over the experienced Faouzi Benzarti.

Chiefs forward Lazalous Kambole will also be on the lookout for some personal redemption in the semifinals of Africa’s premier club competition. The Zambia international was part of the Zesco United team that lost 3-2 on aggregate to eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016.

“What I have learnt is that doing well away from home is important,” said Kambole. “Now that we are starting away from home, we need a positive result. A win or a draw with goals will give us an advantage. Doing well in Morocco will mean that we are likely to progress.

“Chiefs have both the will to succeed and the know-how on Wydad. We are hungry as a team and have done our homework, but we know it’s not going to be easy. We are playing against a very difficult side away from home, we know what to expect and we will strategise on how we can gain an advantage,” he added.

The aggregate winner will face either Esperance de Tunis or defending champions Al Ahly in this year’s final.

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