Swazi upstarts target Wits upset

CAF Confederation Cup

Kick-off at the Bidvest Stadium is set for 18h00.

Wits, who were runners-up in the Nedbank Cup in 2014, competed in the Confederation Cup back in 2011. They defeated Reunion side US Sainte-Marienne 4-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round before falling 3-1 to Madagascar’s AS Adema in the first round.

In 2015, coach Gavin Hunt will hope to take the Clever Boys much deeper into the competition. However, balancing his squad to compete on three fronts (Absa Premiership, Nedbank Cup and Confed Cup) will be difficult for the wily coach.

Nonetheless, Hunt would have been pleased with his side’s midweek showing, a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Maritzburg United which suggests that they have hit the ground running following the lengthy break for the Africa Cup of Nations.

However, he has highlighted their finishing as an area of concern heading into their continental campaign.

"We need to score more goals, obviously, and we want to have a better success rate in the opportunities created," Hunt said. "If you want to be up there, you need to score at least three of eight chances that you create and we are not doing that.”

As for Royal Leopards, who won the 2014 Swazi Cup, they have competed in the Confederation Cup as recently as 2012 (they were beaten 1-0 on aggregate in the preliminary round by Zambia’s Red Arrows) and have appeared in the early stages of the Champions League on three occasions (2007-09).

The Swazi side has promised to give Wits a stern test and will reportedly bring a big contingent of travelling fans with them to Johannesburg. The return leg will be played at Lobamba Stadium on February 28.

The winner of this preliminary tie will face either Volcan Club (Comoros) or Petro de Luanda (Angola) in the next round.