Free State Stars to become 17th SA side to compete in continental club competition
Free State Stars will become the 17th South African side to compete in continental club competition when they debut in the Confederation Cup against Rwandan side Mukura Victory Sports at the BidVest Stadium on Wednesday.
They follow hot on the heels of Cape Town City‚ who made their bow in the same competition earlier this year and earned their spot after claiming the Nedbank Cup at the end of the last campaign.
The switch in calendar of the CAF club competitions means the Confederation Cup and the Champions League will be played between now and May‚ which will test the depth of the Stars squad if they advance to the pool stages.
They will join a list of South African teams to compete that includes the country’s big guns‚ but also the likes of Hellenic‚ Witbank Aces‚ Vaal Professionals‚ and two clubs who now compete in the ABC Motsepe League – Moroka Swallows and Santos.
In all African club competition‚ South African sides have played 474 matches‚ winning 224 of those to go with 119 draws and 131 defeats‚ but so far have scant success to show for their efforts with Champions League wins for Orlando Pirates (1995) and Mamelodi Sundowns (2016)‚ and victory in the now defunct African Cup Winners’ Cup for Kaizer Chiefs (2001).
Sundowns are the only side to have played more than a century of games‚ a total they will add to in this years’ Champions League‚ though Orlando Pirates‚ currently on 95‚ should join them on three figures as they return to the elite club competition for the first time since they were losing finalists in 2013.
Kaizer Chiefs (42) could pass the half-century if they reach the group stages of the Confederation Cup as they start their campaign against Zanzibar minnows Zimamoto in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
Number of African club games for South African sides:
113 - Mamelodi Sundowns
95 - Orlando Pirates
72 - SuperSport United
42 - Kaizer Chiefs
26 - BidVest Wits
25 - Ajax Cape Town
20 - Jomo Cosmos
20 - Platinum Stars
17 - Santos
10 - Manning Rangers
8 - Black Leopards
8 - Moroka Swallows
4 - Cape Town City
4 - Hellenic
4 - Witbank Aces
2 – Vaal Professionals