ZIMBABWE Premier Soccer League champions Chicken Inn will face South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns in the preliminary round of the 2016 Caf Champions League in February following a draw conducted at the continental body’s headquarters Cairo on Friday.
And Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas says this is no easy draw.
“It’s not an easy draw at all. They (Sundowns) play in Africa almost every year and this is our first time, so it’s really going to be tough.
“We will have a short break and resume preparations as early as possible, get some friendlies and add some experienced players to our squad,” Antipas, who took Motor Action to the Confederation Cup in 2011 said, said Monday.
Sundowns are not new to Zimbabwe as they have played pre-season friendlies against Highlanders, Dynamos and Caps United in the last two seasons and have two Zimbabweans on their books in Khama Billiat and Cuthbert Malajila.
They also have Nyasha Mushekwi who, unfortunately is set to leave in January while Kuda Mahachi has been sent on loan to Lamontville Golden Arrows.
Sundowns’ team manager is Highlanders and Warriors legend Peter Ndlovu.
Sundowns respect Zim side
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says his side will give full respect to Chicken Inn.
“We certainly don’t take Chicken Inn lightly,” he said.
“Actually, they are a very good side and only last week, they played in another [Zimbabwe] cup semi-final.”
“They are also the side for which Kuda Mahachi played for, and we are quite familiar with the territory.
“In addition, we have played pre-season matches in Zimbabwe during our pre-season camps.”
Harare off to Madagascar
In the Caf Confederation Cup, Harare City who like Chicken Inn will be making their maiden appearance in Africa, will have to negotiate their way past AS Adema of Madagascar in the preliminary round.
Zambian giants Zanaco, who have bye into the first round will attempt to ambush the winner of that tie with AS Bakary-Dyan of Mali and Tunisian side Stade Gbessien also interested some piece of the action.
CAF does not hold a traditional draw but rather work out a tennis-style draw which determines the line-ups for the first three rounds.
The reason is to try and keep the match-ups within a close geographical proximity to cut down on travel costs, which can be quite prohibitive across the African continent.Advertisement
The first three rounds in the Champions League are held on a two-legged knockout basis to determine eight surviving clubs, who then proceed to the group phase of the competition.
It takes four rounds of knockout matches in the Confederation Cup to determine the eight clubs who go to the group phase.
All clubs must register their players by the end of this month.
They can register between 23 and 25 players at first and add to them in June after the knockout rounds are completed and if they qualify for the group phase.