BANTU was this week drawn against Zambia’s Nkana FC in the preliminary stages of the CAF Champions’ League and coach Bob Mafoso admits it will not be an easy ride.
The two sides clash later this month with the first leg penned in for 27 to 29 November 2020 at Setsoto Stadium and the return fixture slated for the first weekend of December in Kitwe, Zambia.
The Red Devils, as Nkana is popularly known, are the second most successful club in Zambia behind Mufulira Wanderers boasting of 13 Zambian Premier League titles.
They have thrice managed to reach the second round of the CAF Champions’ League.
Mafoso whose charges have only managed to go beyond the preliminary stage once in 2018, said their Zambian counterparts should not be undermined.
“This is a tough draw and I feel we lacked luck to have been drawn against such giants,” Mafoso said.
“We were very unfortunate to be drawn against a team that plays in CAF competitions almost every season but the draw has been made and must prepare for the matches.”
The former Rovers midfielder said he was however, confident that his charges would do the job provided they prepare well.
“They obviously are more experienced having played in the CAF group stages unlike us but I believe in my team. We must use this to gauge our strength and see how far we can go.
“IT will need lots of work but ultimately, it will boil down to how we would have prepared for the matches. We must be very strategic with our preparations,” he said.
In 2018 Bantu defeated Township Rollers of Botswana to advance beyond the preliminary phase of the tournament where they were knocked out by AS Vita of Cameroun.
Mafoso is wary of the supporters’ expectations.
“Coaching this team comes with pressure obviously because supporters are always expecting a win no matter who the opponents are. We can only hope that we get our preparations right because that will be vital.
“We have a good squad that I believe can pull this one off. Our advantage is that core of our team is with the national team now (eight players) playing in the African Cup o Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, so by the time we play Nkana, they would have a competitive edge.
“However, the disadvantage is that we have been preparing in their absence. They will only join camp seven days before the tie and we are only praying that they do not suffer any injuries.”
The winner between Bantu and Nkana will face the winner between Akunangui (Equatorial Guinea) and Athletico Petroleos (Angola).