Absa Premiership

Clever Boys want to make history in Al Ahly match

2017-03-19 06:03
CAF Champions League.

Johannesburg - The ticket price hike aside, this is a big one for Bidvest Wits.

It is not often that clubs play eight-time CAF Champions League champions Al Ahly and even coach Gavin Hunt has admitted it is his club’s biggest match so far.

Although the R100 asking entry fee might be too steep for many locals, it is what will happen on the field that is more important this time around.

Knocking the Egyptian giants out of the tournament should be motivation enough to see the Clever Boys go all out for victory.

Big chance

After narrowly losing 1-0 away in Egypt, Wits should fancy their chances of going through. But they know it won’t be easy as the Egyptians are known for their never-say-die attitude and resilience.

Hunt said he expected the visitors to be cautious in their approach and to try to hit his side on counter-attacks.

“They are normally cautious away from home. We will have to wait and see, but I feel we have got a big chance to go through. This is the biggest game in Wits’ history and we have a chance of creating our own history,” said Hunt.

He pointed out that Ahly would pose threats in set pieces because of their height and power.

“If there’s any weakness in South African teams, it is to defend dead-ball situations. But anybody is beatable in football and that is what we are aiming for.”

However, Hunt said the unavailability of captain Thulani Hlatshwayo was a big blow to his side. The defender is suspended for this match after receiving a yellow card in the first leg.

“He is one of the best headers of the ball in the country and we will miss his services. It was bad in Egypt as we received five yellow cards, but we have a chance at home,” Hunt said.

The Students last week showed they could go toe-to-toe with the former champions.

They will need to show the same resilience and determination on Sunday afternoon if they are to progress to the next round of the competition.

Playing at home should spur them on, as should knowing that they could cause one of the biggest upsets in African football.

An early goal for Wits could rattle the visitors, who are not good travellers.

Speedy winger

The Students will rely on the services of speedy winger Phakamani Mahlambi to unlock the Egyptian defence.

Eleazar Rodgers will also play a key role upfront as his aerial prowess could be an advantage for the hosts.

Goalkeeper Darren Keet could be back between the poles to replace Moeneeb Josephs, who did duty in Egypt last weekend.

Kick-off is at 15:30.


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