Can SuperSport emulate Pirates in the Confed Cup?

06 July 2017 - 13:19 By Marc Strydom
Thuso Phala celebrates the opening goial during the Nedbank Cup final match between Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United at Moses Mabhida Stadium on June 24, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
Thuso Phala celebrates the opening goial during the Nedbank Cup final match between Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United at Moses Mabhida Stadium on June 24, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images

In the periods that SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns have dominated the PSL‚ the domestic competition became known as the Pretoria Soccer League.

With defending Caf Champions League winners Sundowns through to the quarterfinals of that tournament‚ and SuperSport in with a strong shout at that stage in the Caf Confederation Cup after a fighting win in Guinea this weekend‚ perhaps such a label will have to be invented for Africa.

SuperSport were at the wrong end of some rough challenges‚ and a notable punch to the back of the head of winger Thuso Phala‚ in their 0-0 draw against Horoya in Conakry on Saturday.

That result sees them in third place in Group D on seven points with Horoya second on nine.

Beat last-placed CF Mounana of Gabon on Saturday at Lucas Moripe Stadium and‚ if Horoya lose against TP Mazembe in DR Congo‚ Matsatsantsa will be the second SA team through to the quarters in continental club football this year.

The draw in the war in Conakry showed how SuperSport have been learning in this Confed.

The trip‚ including a gruelling 20 hours’ travel either way via Dubai to the opposite corner of Africa‚ was an eye-opener said Matsatsantsa’s Kiwi striker Jeremy Brockie.

“On and off the pitch it was something that I haven’t come across before in my career‚” he said.

“The travelling was a logistical nightmare‚ though the club did put us up in a nice hotel.

“Seeing Guinea was an eye-opener‚ and quite sad at times.

"There’s a lot of poverty‚ and a lot of rubbish in the ocean‚ and washed up on the shores.

“And a lot of kids just being happy playing with a can and things like that.

"It was quite upsetting and just makes you wish you could do something to help.

“And on the pitch it got quite physical and aggressive towards the end.

"Football doesn’t need to be like that.

"But we were happy to come away with a result.”

Brockie said it was something of a compliment to SuperSport that Horoya resorted to targeting them physcially.

“There was a certain challenge in the second half that probably warranted a red on any other day‚ that the lad got away with without even getting a yellow‚ which obviously upset us.

“And then there was the off-the-ball incident with Thuso‚ which no-one saw apart from us players.

"And you can’t really react because you’re the one who’s going to get into trouble.

“I think it’s a compliment in a way to how they viewed us.

"They were trying to keep a few players quiet.

“We took it and gave some back too.

"And to get the result was rewarding for the boys.”

That fight for a result was a testament to SuperSport and reminiscent of how Orlando Pirates fought their way to two continental finals in the early 2010s.

It could see SuperSport emulate Bucs and go all the way in the Confed.

“When you think about it‚ those types of games and experiences are going to make us stronger as a squad and prepare us for things that are more than likely going to come down the track‚ if we progress‚” Brockie said.

- TimesLIVE

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