Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs’ quest to conquer the African continent might come from the most unlikely sources – the experience of their bitterest rivals Orlando Pirates.
The Buccaneers reached the final of the CAF Champions League last year 2013 having gone through what former coach Roger de Sa called ‘a tortuous journey’ on the continent which included the full repertoire of conditions and circumstances that come with playing continental football.
But despite all Pirates reached the finals of the biggest club tournament on the African continent where they lost to Egypt’s Al Ahly – but not before conquering tough sides from Zambia, DRC and Tunisia among other countries.
Ahead of leaving for Orange CAF Champions League first leg of second round match against AS Vita of Kinshasa, DRC to be played on Sunday, Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter has sought for advice from the man who engineered Bucs’ sensational campaign in the Champions League last year, Roger de Sa who is now coaching Ajax Cape Town.
"It was a candid talk and in the spirit of fighting for the South African flag.
"Roger’s assessment of Africa was ruthless and honest but will come in handy as we embark on this trying adventure.
"We want to do well in Africa and this type of an insight will be priceless," said Chiefs coach Baxter.
"Apart from the psychological warfare which most visiting teams are subjected to, Roger’s breakdown of issues for travelling teams was get in and out, if possible on the same day,"he said.
Asked what he had told his former No 1 enemy on the playing field, the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper who was born in Mozambican capital of Maputo said travelling and conquering Africa needed one to be streetwise and be a natural survivor.
"That is what I learnt in our campaign last year.
"At times we were given a training field in which we had to chase away goats grazing on it and on other instances housed in hotels which were so run down, you could not believe it," said De Sa.
"My advice to Chiefs was simple.
"Don’t stay too long away from home.
"Get in and get out as soon as possible.
"When we went to play TP Mazembe in DRC, we arrived in the morning and went straight to the stadium and flew back immediately after the match," he said.
It is the match against TP Mazembe that defined Pirates’ breathtaking campaign.
After beating Mazembe 3-1 at Orlando Stadium in the first leg, the Lubumbashi side were inform goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa saved two of three spot kicks in regulation time as the Soweto giants progressed to the mini-league play offs 3-2 on aggregate.
"If you want to conquer Africa, you have to be as tough as nails. That is the message I drove home to Chiefs," added De Sa.
Chiefs will leave on Friday 21st March for DR Congo on the back a purple patch both at home and on the continent.
They are coming from a morale-boosting 1-0 derby win over Pirates at the weekend in a league game and recently thrashed Mozambique’s Muculmana 7-0 on aggregate on their way to the second round.