HARARE - Harare City assistant coach Mkhupali “Mr Cooper” Masuku has challenged his charges to use home advantage and “go for an emphatic victory” when they face Malagasy side AS Adema in the CAF Confederation Cup first leg, preliminary round tie at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.
The Sunshine Boys will embark on their maiden African safari after being crowned the Chibuku Super Cup winners last year following a win against Dynamos in the final.
Harare City have been preparing for the continental showpiece for over a month now and speaking to the Daily News yesterday Masuku believes their chances of progressing to the group stages lies in their game tomorrow.
“We must take advantage of our home ground to win convincingly. We need a good result to take to Antananarivo. My experience as a player and as a coach is that you should not concede at home in these type of matches,” Masuku told the Daily News.
“I think this is our first real test and we need to prove our mettle. If we can win by a bigger margin then we will have less pressure when we go there for the second leg.
“In these matches you need to take full advantage of your home.
“There are no easy games in Africa especially when you are playing away from home.
“It’s always good playing in a big tournament like this. The good thing is that we are all looking forward to a positive result.
“We want to win this and progress to the group stages of this cup.
“We have had good preparations and I think it’s now up to the players to implement what we have been practicing.”
The former Highlanders coach said they were expecting a difficult match and also pleaded with the local football fans to throng Rufaro Stadium and create an intimidating atmosphere for the visitors.
“We are not expecting an easy match of course. They are a good side with good African history. They will obviously come here to win. So we need to make sure that we don’t concede at home,” added Masuku.
“I think all football fans should come in their numbers to support the national cause. Remember, we are representing the country and it will be good if people come in numbers and rally behind us.”
If Harare City sail past AS Adema, they will secure a date against Zambian side Zanaco in the first round in March.
A win against the Zambians, will see City play either Malian side AS Bakaridjan or AS Kaloum Star of Guinea or Stade Gabesien of Tunisia in the final qualifying round before the group stages of the second-tier African inter-club competition.