Black Leopards laud PSL
Johannesburg - Black Leopards gave a thumps up to the Premier Soccer League (PSL), who allowed them enough preparatory time for their CAF Confederations Cup second round clash with Nigeria's Warri Wolves this weekend.
Leopards, who ironically are fighting relegation, are South Africa's sole representatives in African competitions.
The league has shifted some of their fixtures to afford them time to travel to the West African nation and the return leg in Polokwane in a fortnight's time.
"We can only thank the PSL for their effort," the side's captain Mongezi Bobe said, shortly before their departure on Thursday afternoon.
Leopards were initially scheduled for a league fixture with fellow strugglers Jomo Cosmos on Saturday, which has now been shifted to May 16.
Their encounter with Wits for May 12 - the weekend of their second leg date with Wolves at Peter Mokaba Stadium - will now be played four days earlier.
"It definitely showed that everybody can see that we are not only representing ourselves, but the league, the SA Football Association and the country.
"We are excited about our trip to Nigeria and the guys are looking forward to the match."
Leopards chairman David Thidiela also travelled with the team, saying that the mood was "very high", while confirming that coach Vladislav Heric had remained behind, as expected.
Heric, the Serbian, has not embarked in any of the Limpopo outfit's trips up Africa because he does not hold a yellow fever certificate because of his alleged allergy to the needle used.
His assistant coach Abel Makhubela will be in charge of the team again, as he was in sojourns to Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the earlier rounds.
"Yes, he (Heric) will not be travelling with us. It is the same story," Thidiela said.
Though, all planning has been done by the side on their Warri-based opponents, who beat Sierra Leone's Kallon FC in the previous stage of the competition.
"We already have some information on them, which we will discuss when we get there (in Warri)," Bobe said.
"I will be tough but we will have an idea of how we will play them and where their strong points are."
Bobe hoped for a surprise win or a credible draw, while a loss would not be accepted by the ambitious continental rookies.
The tide, however, does favour Lidoda Duvha in the second leg, since Wolves have failed to win their away ties in the competition thus far.
"For us to achieve a result, we will need to pull things together," Bobe added.
"This is especially in our defence, and hopefully, use one or two chances that we will likely get."
Having earned a favourable 2-2 draw away to Saint Eloi Lupopo in Lubumbashi, DR Congo earlier this month, Bobe felt that his charges would be prepared for the cauldron that could await them in the Delta State.
"We did well in Congo under hostile conditions and against their crowd," he said.
"Hopefully, we can use that moment as inspiration to pull us through in coming back with a good result in Nigeria."