Leopards face uphill battle
Black Leopards face a tough away when they take on Sudanese side Al-Merreikh in the first leg of their 2012 CAF Confederation Cup play-off tie in Omdurman on Saturday night.
Lidoda Duvha have encountered a number of obstacles in the build-up to this game, not least the loss of two of their main strikers.
Zimbabwean Kingston Nkhatha has left for Kaizer Chiefs, while Nigerian Joshua Obaje is stranded in his homeland due to terror attacks in that country.
And what’s more, the side have barely started their pre-season preparations for the new campaign, with the players having not kicked a ball in anger since May 19.
Putting all of those factors together and it is hard to see how they can come away with a result in what is one of the more difficult away trips on the continent.
Al-Merreikh have been more used to CAF Champions League football in recent seasons, but were ousted in the third round by TP Mazembe this year, seeing them drop down to the Confederation Cup.
They are without seven of their regular stars for this game, through injury and, in the case of goalkeeper Essam Al-Hadary, national team commitments with Egypt.
But coach Ricardo Ferreira says
he has studied Leopards closely and has devised a plan to beat them on
Saturday, though he also warned his players they must show Lidoda Duvha
“I have watched six games played by Black Leopards, they are very dangerous on the counter-attack, so this will demand from us to prepare a team with good positioning and attacking qualities,” Ferreira told CAFOnline.
“Because the first game will be played at our home, we must win it and try to score goals which will give us a healthy lead going into the return match in South Africa. The most important thing is to win in Omdurman this weekend.”
Ferreira says Leopards’ lowly position in the Absa Premiership last season should not be seen as a sign of weakness.
“It is not my problem that Black Leopards nearly got relegated to the second division last month. I don't like to say that they are not a good side, in Confederation Cup you can't say something like that. If Al-Merreikh start to think about that Black Leopards as an easy prey and we take them lightly then Al-Merreikh may lose in Omdurman.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Nasreldin Al Shigel says his side are looking for a three-goal margin at least.
“We will try to get a commanding lead from Omdurman game. We will do our best to end it in our favor by at least three goals to give us a healthy lead going into return match,” he says.