SuperSport United and TP Mazembe will clash in the first leg of the 2017 CAF Confederations Cup final at the Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi on Sunday at 3.30pm.
Having played to two successive stalemates in the group stages (2-2 in Lubumbashi and 0-0 in Atteridgeville) of this year’s competition, the clubs will renew their rivalry with the aggregate victor over two legs to be crowned champions.
TP Mazembe, who are the title-holders following their triumph in the competition 12 months ago, booked their place in a second successive final following a 1-0 aggregate win over FUS Rabat.
Ben Malango’s solitary goal enough to reserve Mazembe’s place in the showpiece event.
SuperSport sealed their sport in a first CAFCC final following a 4-2 aggregate win over Tunisian outfit Club Africain.
Held to a 1-1 draw in South Africa, Matsatsantsa turned on the style in Rades with goals from Bradley Grobler (2) and Jeremy Brockie leading the club to a memorable win.
Brockie, top scorer in the year’s competition with 10 goals, will only arrive back in South Africa on Friday morning with the striker set to hop off his connecting flight from Lima, Peru and straight onto a plane to the DR Congo with his SuperSport team-mates.
The New Zealand international played his part in the All Whites 2018 Fifa World Cup playoff defeat in Peru.
SuperSport head coach Eric Tinkler is hopeful that Brockie will recover in time for Sunday’s clash, but will only assess the striker upon arrival in Lubumbashi.
Furthermore, Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams could also miss the clash as he reportedly suffered a knock while on national duty.
TP Mazembe have their own injury concerns with towering centre back Salif Coulibaly a doubt due to injury, while under fire goal-minder Sylvain Gbohouo will be out to prove a point.
Gbohouo asked for forgiveness following the Ivory Coast’s failure to reach next year’s World Cup in Russia following a 2-0 defeat to Morocco in Abidjan. The goalkeeper came under siege in aftermath of his display in goal for the Elephants.
Moreover, Tinkler has highlighted the importance of an away goal for SuperSport knowing that if they find the back of the net in Lubumbashi it will stand them in good stead going into the second leg fixture.
“An away goal is a priority for us‚ otherwise it means nothing‚” Tinkler said.
Tinkler, who guided Orlando Pirates to the final two years ago, has underlined the positive impact CAFCC success will have on SuperSport, while also stating the fact that Mazembe will be more wary of their opponents this time around.
“I don’t think that Mazembe took SuperSport seriously when we played them in the earlier round. I promise you now that they know who SuperSport is.
The reverse fixture is set to take place at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday, November 25. Kick-off is at 8.15pm (Central African Time).