13 September 2017 10:25
In just a few days, Eric Tinkler will once again resume his quest of fulfilling his dream of lifting a continental club championship. This time, the former Orlando Pirates midfielder and coach will attempt to do this in the colours of his new club, Supersport United.
Supersport take on Zambia giants, Zesco United, in the first leg quarter final of the Total CAF Confederation Cup on Friday evening at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria with the return leg pencilled for seven days later at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Tinkler came agonisingly close two years ago when he guided Orlando Pirates to the final of the same competition where they were edged 2-1 on aggregate by Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia.
The 47-year-old has now taken over the reins from South Africa national team coach, Stuart Baxter, after a successful stint with Cape Town City that saw him finish in third position and winning a league cup in his maiden season with the top flight newcomers.
“I am happy to be back in CAF Competitions. I am one person who has always believed that South African clubs need to participate and do well in such competitions,” said a delighted Tinkler who is aiming for a clean sheet on Friday.
‘Matsatsantsa’ are yet to make a reasonable impact on the continental scene and will want to emulate their crosstown rivals and current African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, but this will require them to dig deep and remain disciplined in all their matches according to Tinkler who tells CAFOnline.com that he has thoroughly studied Zesco.
“We are at a stage of the competition where all teams are good and whatever weakness we have seen might be corrected come Friday. Yes, we have studied how they play but we also need to be on our A-game. We have identified a number of good players that are dangerous in offense. They are also very versatile in their formation which makes it slightly challenging to plan against them but we will be ready,” said Tinkler.
Supersport will be banking on the speedy recovery of Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, Reyaard Pieterse, who is out with flu. The club’s medical room is empty with the exception of Cole Alexander who has been out for some time now. Thato Mokeke and Fagrie Lakay are also not available for selection due to injury.
Tinkler will also heavily rely on New Zealand goal poacher, Jeremy Brockie, to continue in his fine scoring form that will soon see him rewrite the club’s history books.
After a failed moved to Sundowns, Brockie scored a brace over the weekend to register his 51st goal for the club, putting him just six goals away from reaching the club’s all-time goal scoring record, held by the late Abram Raselemane who scored 57 goals after spending 11 years with the club.
In other matches, MC Alger will be at home to Tunisia’s Club Africain just as FUS Rabat against three-time winners, CS Sfaxien in Rabat.
Holders TP Mazembe travel to the Obeid as guests of Sudanese debutants, Hilal Obeid.
15.09.2017 Pretoria Supersport (South Africa) vs Zesco (Zambia)
16.09.2017 Algiers MC Alger (Algeria) vs Club Africain (Tunisia)
16.09.2017 Rabat FUS Rabat (Morocco) vs CS Sfaxien (Tunisia)
16.09.2017 Obeid Hilal Obeid (Sudan) vs TP Mazembe (DR Congo)