SuperSport United are on the verge of a historic achievement, but need the help of the nation to be crowned Confederation Cup champions, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Matsatsantsa went down 2-1 in the first leg in Lubumbashi, and despite the loss Eric Tinkler revealed that he was not cut up by the result. Instead, he was buoyed by Sipho Mbule’s stunning strike that kept his side’s hopes alive.
And why not? It’s the same SuperSport outfit that have proven superior on the domestic scene, earning the tag as South Africa’s new Cup Kings, but more than that, it’s the same side that have defied all odds on their way to the final – having played in nine different countries in the last ten months, netting 34 goals in the process and putting giants Zesco United and Club Africain to the sword.
Matsatsantsa boast an incredible record on their African exploits, having played eight matches, winning four and drawing four, but they will need one more victory – and that’s where the proverbial 12th man comes into play.
Mazembe will arrive in SA confident in spirit; they are the defending champions and have not lost a game in the competition since August last year, including two draws against SuperSport. Fortunately for the hosts, they thrive on adversity. I’m not saying their fans should retaliate and give Mazembe a shocking welcome, but they certainly shouldn’t go out of their way to make their trip feel like a holiday.
SuperSport have displayed great team spirit and unity to overcome challenges such as changes in personnel, intimidation tactics from opposing teams and travelling issues. They also bounced back from near-exits in the campaign, turning around disappointing first-leg results to come away unscathed. And they need one more houdini-like act.
This will-to-win will stand them in good stead if they are to overturn the deficit and clinch the title, but they will need the help of all South Africans in spurring them on.
TP Mazembe narrowly won the first leg and visuals from the game suggest that the home side’s fans had an integral part to play in the result. The Stade de Mazembe was filled to capacity with thousands of passionate fans clad in the black-and-white strip of the home side, singing their hearts out for the entire ninety minutes.
Sundowns secured the 2016 Caf Champions League in fine fashion at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, and free entry was given to all those dressed in yellow in support of the home team.
SuperSport have undertaken the same initiative, granting free entry to all supporters dressed in blue. What more incentive does one need to get down and watch a continental cup final?
If South Africa is to have another African champion, it would require the Lucas Moripe Stadium to be packed to the rafters with fans (regardless of domestic allegiances) screaming their lungs out for the home side.
Each and every fan should be treating Saturday’s clash as a civic duty.
Show up early at the stadium and show your unwavering support for SuperSport United, who will need a sea of passionate blue supporters if they are to lift their first-ever continental crown.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix
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