BULAWAYO - Chicken Inn skipper Danny “Deco” Phiri (pictured) believes his side will qualify for the African Champions League first round at the expense of South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Gamecocks left Bulawayo yesterday for Tshwane, South Africa for Saturday’s second leg at the Lucas Moripe Stadium carrying a slender 1-0 lead.
Just like before the first leg in Bulawayo, the reigning Zimbabwe champions were never given a chance but achieved a result which sent shock.
And Phiri is confident they can pull off a similar result away from home.
“We are going there for nothing other than victory,” Phiri told the Daily News shortly before Gamecocks’ departure.
“My teammates are well-psyched up and everyone is fit in the camp. We are just going to follow what our coach has been telling us during training and that’s why I know we can beat our opponents.
The home-based Warriors captain believes Sundowns will be under pressure to get an early goal and cancel out their 1-0 lead which will play right into the Zimbabwean champions’ hands.
“Remember we are leading, so if we manage to score just one goal and try to contain them, I think we can bring back home a positive result.
“Personally, I think it’s Sundowns who will be under pressure and not us,” he said.
“One thing that we do not wish to do is to disappoint our fans after having salvaged all the pride when we beat Sundowns who had actually gone for 19 games without experiencing a defeat.”
Kick-off time for the second leg is 2015 hours and the match will be screened live on pay-per-view satellite sports channel SuperSport.
Playing under floodlights is a new phenomenon for most Chicken Inn players which forced the club to travel early to South Africa so they could attune to playing at night.
“I have played under floodlights before but many of my teammates are not used to that so this is the reason why we are leaving so early to try and make sure we at least have a feel of the conditions,” said Phiri.
Gamecocks coach Joey Antipas said: “Hopefully, we can come out with a positive result. One thing we know is that we will have our work cut out because Sundowns will be baying for our blood . . . because they also want to progress to the next round.
“We have to go with a cautious approach, we are not going to go and attack Sundowns . . . we are playing away so we have to come up with a game plan that suits us.
“They play at their favourite hunting ground so we know it’s going to be a difficult task for us.
“But we have been trying to prepare our guys physically and psychologically to take Sundowns on.”
Chicken Inn received a major boost with the return of experienced playmaker Clemence Matawu, who missed the first leg due to injury.
Meanwhile, a bloated Harare City delegation left the country yesterday for the side’s African Confederation Cup second leg clash against AS Adema of Madagascar this Saturday.
City lead the tie 3-2 after the first leg and will have to be at their very best to protect the lead against the plucky Indian Ocean islanders.
Chicken Inn squad
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze, Pride Zendera
Defenders: Passmore Bernard, Lawrence Mhlanga, Devine Lunga, Moses Jackson, Ben Nyahunzvi
Midfielders: Danny Phiri, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Clemence Matawu, Thabani Goredema, Brian Juru, Physwell Madhazi, George Majika, Edmore Chirambadare
Strikers: Obadiah Tarumbwa, Michelle Katsvairo, Moses Demera