13 May 2018 08:38
Mbabane Swallows are leaving no stone unturned reserving most energy through resting key players and paying much on Tuesday’s Group D Day Two clash against Angola giants Primeiro de Agosto set for Mavuso Sports Centre in the capital, Manzini.
Coach Thabo Koki Vilakati is taking no chances resting major and key role players as they choked up a goalless draw against Tambuti FC bringing the curtain down on a second unbeaten successive season in the Swazi Premier League accompanied with two back-to- back league titles.
In what could probably be a biggest lesson learnt from the futile 2017 Total CAF Confederations Cup group stage where Swallows seemed to run out of energy when needed most, the Swazi side has put up a verve preservation strategy.
Swallows came into Saturday’s match with the league title already secured thus main focus was merely taking the unbeaten league run to 48 and at the same time reserving some fuel in the tank for Tuesday’s tie against the Angola champions.
Vilakati rested veteran wingers Tony Tsabedze and Wonder Nhleko, midfielder Njabulo Ndlovu as well as defender Stanley Umukoro and confirmed focus was on the continental tie.
“Look here most these players have never had an off-season rest in the past three years. They were in Namibia for COSAFA; were involved in the 2017 AFCON qualifiers, then played in the CAF Confederation Cup group stage last year. Having taken our lessons from last season we obviously had to rest them for Tuesday.
“We are looking for nothing less than progress beyond the group stage thus our first home match at this stage is so important. We need a win to boost our chances and that is exactly the spirit among players. They know what a win means and the value it carries and they also know what a defeat will do to the chances.
“My biggest appeal goes to all Swazi people, soccer fans or not, to come in their numbers and rally behind the boys on Tuesday and maximize on our home advantage. This is not just a club cause but largely a national cause regardless of any club affiliation. We promise them a good result but pity we will miss our home Somhlolo National Stadium,” said Vilakati.
In Primeiro de Agosto, victory will not come any cheap with the Angola outfit remaining unbeaten on the road this term beating FC Platinum in Zimbabwe and drawing against Bidvest Wits in South Africa and often travel with significant number on the terraces.
All teams in this group have collected one point each and the winners from Match Day Two will certainly brighten their chances. Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel face Zesco of Zambia in the other Group D match in Sousse.
15.5.2018 13H00 Kampala KCCA (Uganda) vs Al Ahly (Egypt)
15.5.2018 19H00 Tunis Esperance (Tunisia) vs Township Rollers (Botswana)
15.5.2018 19H00 El Jadida Difaa El Jadidi (Morocco) vs TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
15.5.2018 19H00 Setif ES Setif (Algeria) vs MC Alger (Algeria)
15.5.2018 19H00 Casablanca Wydad (Morocco) vs AS Togo (Togo)
22.5.2018 16H00 Conakry Horoya (Guinea) vs Sundowns (South Africa)
15.5.2018 13H00 Manzini Swallows (Swaziland) vs Primeiro de Agosto (Angola)
16.5.2018 19H00 Sousse Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) vs Zesco (Zambia)