Monday Jun 28, 2021. 11:00
Kaizer Chiefs interim coach Arthur Zwane says vanquished CAF Champions League semifinal opponents Wydad Casablanca must now regret having sent a ‘B Team’ to face the South African side earlier in the competition.
This past Saturday evening Chiefs held Wydad 0-0 at the FNB Stadium to secure a 1-0 aggregate triumph and book a place in their first-ever Champions League final.
Yet the Amakhosi’s tournament could have been ended back in the group stage by their Moroccan counterparts.
Wydad, with qualification to the knockout stage already secure, opted to send a second-choice squad to face Chiefs in a Matchday 5 Group C fixture in Johannesburg back in April. The hosts won 1-0 to keep themselves alive, ultimately scraping through to the quarterfinals before ousting Tanzania’s Simba SC 4-3 on aggregate.
“It was never going to be an easy journey for us, we knew it was going to be tough because we’re competing against the best on the continent,” Zwane said in a post-match press conference, as quoted by Kick-Off.
“Going back to the game, we knew their strength from day one, I think they will regret the day they decided to send their ‘B-team’. I think it’s more of learning [curve] especially for us that when you’re on the road, you don’t take anyone for granted.
“We’re obviously going to be underdogs competing against them and they paid the price because I think if they sent their best team that time – maybe things would have been different.
“Fortunately for them, they took us for granted that time and we gave them something to think about and surprise them. They’re a very good team there’s no doubt about it, solid team, good in defence, also very good going forward.”
He added: “But they also have their weaknesses like any other team whatever formation they put up there, we were still going to capitalise because we always underdogs.
“It worked for us, the way we planned, we knew if we go pound for pound with them – we’d open up and give them space to punish you. They had a few chances today but Daniel Akpeyi came to the party and the whole defence.”
Chiefs will come up against reigning African champions Al Ahly (and their South African coach, Pitso Mosimane) in the final in Casablanca on July 17.