Harare - Zimbabwe’s CAF Confederation Cup representatives, Triangle, are facing a tough hurdle in their quest to break into the competition’s last-16.
They will have to be at their classy best to overturn a 0-2 deficit when they host Mauritania club FC Nouadhibou at Barbourfieds in Bulawayo on Sunday.
They were left cursing their luck last weekend when they lapsed and conceded two quick-fire goals inside three minutes in the first leg.
The debutants looked pretty much organised before they somehow lost concentration in big moments and ended up losing by a significant score line.
But coach Taurai Mangwiro is adamant his charges are good enough to turn the tables on the West Africans this weekend.
“We are in the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time in our short history as a team. We are certainly not in the competition to make up the numbers. As a club, we feel that we have done so well to help our country. Of course, we are on the back foot against the Mauritanians who beat us 0-2 when we played at their home but we are simply not throwing in the towel,” said Mangwiro.
He said his players are aware of what is there for the taking if they managed to skip this hurdle.
“The fact that our opponents were able to score twice on their home turf also means that we can also score as much at our own home. The troops are motivated to make history and ultimately help the country to ultimately field two teams in the competition.
“Of course, we are trailing by two goals and it will be a very tough match because we know they will come up with a very defensive approach to their game.
“It is up to us to lift up our play and try to out-manoeuvre them in every regard. This is one match we know we have to put on a shift and attack the entire 90 minutes to come up with the result we are looking for.
“We are banking on home advantage in this tie. All our players are ready. The motivation level is encouraging and we are all upbeat ahead of the tie. It’s make or break, we swim or we sink, we have to settle for the former in either case.”
While Triangle attempt to stage what will be one of the most remarkable come-back stories in the history of the tournament, Southern Africa will generally be looking forward to seeing teams from this region progress to the last-16.
It will be a regional affair when South Africa’s Bidvest take on Mozambican side UD Songo in the second leg in Johannesburg this weekend.
The South Africans carry a slight advantage into the second instalment having won the first-leg tie 2-1 away in Mozambique.
DR Congo’s DC Motema Pembe will be hoping to outwit Gor Mahia of Kenya after they managed a 1-1 draw in Kenya the last time out.
Zanaco of Zambia carry a healthy 3-1 lead over Cono Sport ahead of the return leg in Zambia while Green Eagles will need to pull their act up against Morocco’s Hassania Agadir away after they were held to a 1-1 draw in Zambia in the first leg.
South Africa’s first division outfit TS Galaxy will also be out to continue with their fairy-tale run but they must be clinical enough if they are to overturn a 0-2 defeat they suffered to Enyimba away to Nigeria last week.