TP Mazembe await CAPS
22 December 2016
. . . Ngezi get Mauritius opponent
CAPS United will face Lioli of Lesotho in the CAF Champions league preliminary round according to the draw conducted Wednesday.
But if they progress, they will face DRC giants TP Mazembe in what could be the defining moment for the Zimbabwe champions.
This year’s knock-out stages have been reduced to just two before they reach the expanded money spinning 16-team final stage.
CAPS United have vowed to leave a mark in the competition and Lioli will be a stroll in the park.
The Lesotho team won the league title in Lesotho in 1985, 2009, 2013 and in their last completed season.
In the CAF Confederation Cup Ngezi Platinum will face Pamplenousses of Mauritius.
If Ngezi qualify for the next stage they face Libolo of Angola in what is also a tough hurdle for the Premiership newcomers.
CAPS United star Hardlife Zvirekwi said they were expecting anything from the draw.
“The CAF Champions league is almost like you are in a jungle and you have to expect anything,” he said.
“It is obvious that in the CAF Champions league there are no easy teams because everyone in that competition are champions in their own right. We were not expecting this draw to be any easy at all.
“The most important thing for us as CAPS United is to go there and compete. We cannot make up numbers. Obviously the coaches will have a plan on how we can be successful in the face of this challenge.”
Caps United will face Lioli in the first leg on the weekend of 10-12 February while Ngezi Platinum Stars travel to Mauritius on the same weekend. The return leg matches for both teams will be on the weekend of 17-19 February.
Ngezi Platinum coach Tonderai Ndiraya said the CAF Confederation Cup is a learning curve for them.
“We are going to meet these teams at the same level. But as I always say, we are still a very small club and we do not have much experience. We are learning as a team.
“Our success in the tournament will depend much on how well we prepare. The most important thing is that we go there with an equal chance of being successful,” Ndiraya said.
Last year Zimbabwe’s representatives Chicken Inn and Harare City did not go far. The Gamecocks were knocked out in the Preliminary round by Mamelodi Sundowns while Harare City knocked out AS Adema of Madagascar before hitting a brick wall in the first round against Zanaco of Zambia.
Ndiraya said they have to respect their Mauritius opponents before they can even think of progressing to the next round.
“The fact that they are in this tournament means that they did well in their own country and they are a force to reckon with. We have to respect that and try to work hard so we can ‘produce a good result,” he said.
Both CAPS United and Ngezi Platinum have been in the process of trying to strengthen their squads and register by December 31.
Registration after that attracts a penalty.