The assistant tactician reveals Amakhosi’s game plan as they travel for the first leg tie against the Moroccan giants
Kaizer Chiefs co-coach Arthur Zwane has revealed they are well aware of the weaknesses and strengths of their Caf Champions League opponents Wydad Casablanca and they will do everything to expose them.
Amakhosi have already left for Casablanca on Wednesday ahead of their semi-final, first leg against Wydad at the Stade Mohammed V Stadium on Saturday.
Speaking to Chiefs’ media department before departure, Zwane had stated they have prepared well for the match and their main focus is to protect conceding a goal and also try to exploit some of the weaknesses of their opponents for a positive result.
“The preparations have been going well, so far so good, we are well prepared and we are looking forward to the game, we know it is not going to be an easy game but we are prepared to take the game to them and be cautious at the same in terms of making sure we don’t concede goals,” Zwane said.
“We will be happy if we can at least manage to score one goal or two.”
Asked about facing an opponent who are unbeaten in the last eleven games in all competitions and what he has analysed from the team, Zwane said: “The opponents are a very competitive team, we are aware of that but they also have their weaknesses and strengths and we have tried to focus on their weaknesses and try to control their strength because we know they are very good at playing the balls behind.
“If you create that space for them then they can easily punish you but we will try and control the space in front of us and behind and try to make sure that when we get the ball we get to the final third as soon as possible.”
On his game approach, Zwane explained: “I think it is mental strength, we have got boys who have played in this competition before the likes of Leonardo [Castro], you know Samir [Nurković] is one player that doesn’t stop running and is always working hard, so we are also having the dead ball situation, if they can’t cope with that then we can easily also punish them.”
Zwane is also worried about Wydad’s number nine, whom he described as a dangerous striker insisting they have to handle him with a lot of care to avoid losing the away game.
“So we know, we are very aware of their strength in terms of their number 9 pilling off the defenders whenever they have the ball on their right inside, he is always looking for that space, so we will try and control that with the hope we will also apply ourselves very well,” Zwane continued.
“It is unfortunate we are missing Lebogang [Manyama] because of a knee injury but we hope he will be fully recovered when we play the second leg back home and I think we only miss Manyama and the rest of the guys are available for the game, except for the players who have been injured, for some time now, I think everybody will be available.”
Here is Zwane’s message for the supporters: “We are very much aware that we are representing the country, our supporters, our families, each and everyone in football, we will make sure we don’t disappoint, and we will make sure we do our best and come back with a positive result, and we will give our best as usual.”
Amakhosi have been able to call on all of their regular players for what is the club’s biggest game ever on the continental stage but they will, however, have to do without Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Lebogang Manyama who joined the injury list that already has Khama Billiat and Dumsani Zuma on it.
Co-coaches Zwane and Dillon Sheppard have also been able to call upon Chiefs’ experienced and younger players for the game in Morocco, with that in mind they opted to take three goalkeepers with them calling up Bruce Bvuma, Itumeleng Khune, and Daniel Akpeyi.
The sides met in the group stages with Wydad winning their home leg which was played in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ougadougou and Chiefs followed that loss up with a home win at FNB Stadium.
Kaizer Chiefs Travelling Squad; Goalkeepers: Bruce Bvuma, Daniel Akpeyi, Itumeleng Khune.
Defenders: Njabulo Blom, Philani Zulu, Daniel Cardoso, Reeve Frosler, Kgotso Moleko, Siyabonga Ngezana, Yagan Sasman, Darrel Matsheke, Erick Mathoho, Anthony Agay.
Midfielders: Kearyn Baccus, Willard Katsande, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Happy Mashiane.
Forwards: Lazalous Kambole, Bernard Parker, Leonardo Castro, Samir Nurkovic.