South African quartet seek progress in CAF competitions

Pitso Mosimane on the Mamelodi Sundowns sideline Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Of South Africa's four sides in African club competition this season, only Cape Town City have firm control of their tie heading into this weekend's second legs.

Both Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits are at home in the Champions League, but both have much to do against tricky opposition from Rwanda and Angola respectively.

In the Confederation Cup, City host Mozambican outfit Costa do Sol with a 1-0 advantage from the first leg and will be confident of progression, while SuperSport United were held 0-0 by Angolans Petro Atletico and are now also at home.

The fate of 2016 African champions Sundowns will likely garner the most attention. They were dominant in the away leg of their tie against Rayon Sports of Rwanda but had to settle for a 0-0 draw.

The lack of an away goal means they will have to be cautious, while the goals have also suddenly dried up with the side managing two or more strikes in a match just twice in their last eight games.

Coach Pitso Mosimane has been away this week working on his Pro Licence, only to return on Thursday, just days ahead of Sunday's clash.

He was critical of his players after the first leg, but also of Rayon Sport's gamesmanship as they were prevented from training in their final session before the match when the stadium lights were turned off.

"In the first half we took it‚ but in the second half they came out stronger," Mosimane told reporters after the game. "They could have won the game.

"It was a good game‚ the way I expect Rayon Sports to play. We won a lot of balls in the midfield but that doesn't mean much [if you don't use the possession].

"I was not happy with my team in the first half. We didn't find it too difficult and thought it was going to be too easy," he added, "but it didn't turn out like that because our opponents raised their standards‚ they raised the bar.

"I'm happy we didn't concede a goal and looking forward to the second round. I expect a tough game but I don't know how Rayon Sport play away."

Wits must overturn a 1-0 loss to Angola's Primeiro de Agosto if they are to reach the Champions League group stages for the first time, something coach Gavin Hunt may see as a poisoned chalice.

The South African side have not had a great campaign and are trying to salvage it by finishing in the top eight, which would qualify them for the potentially lucrative MTN8 next season.

They also dominated large parts of the first leg in Luanda, but their old frailties in front of goal cost them.

The second leg will be played in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Cape Town City will expect to see off Costa do Sol at the Athlone Stadium on Sunday having won all three of their matches in the Confederation Cup by 1-0 scorelines.

They will then face one more play-off round before the group stages as the 16 teams that drop out of the Champions League in the second round will move into the Confederation Cup.

The same is true for SuperSport United, who start the action on Friday night at home to Petro Atletico.

The Pretoria-based club were largely in control of the first leg in Luanda, but, like Sundowns, will be wary of an away goal that would need their goal-shy strikers to score twice.