Township Rollers head coach, Nikola Kavazovic has appealed to Batswana to be the twelfth man his team needs when it hosts Al Merreikh of Sudan in the preliminary round of the CAF champions’ league tomorrow (Saturday).
‘Popa’ hosts Al Merreikh at the National Stadium in the first leg of the two legged encounter before heading out to Sudan to play the second leg on the 21st of this month (February).
Speaking at the two teams’ technical press conference, Kavazovic said they are aware of the hard battle that awaits them when they take on Al Merreikh, who he described as ‘one of the best football club teams in Africa.’
‘The Red Devils,’ as Al Merreikh is affectionately known, have won CAF Confederations Cup once back in 1989 and have participated in this cup for 36 times.
“We have taken time to watch the game play of our opponents Al Merreikh and all we can wait for is tomorrow’s game,” said Kavazovic.
While saying they are ready to fight hard and progress to the next round, Kavazovic however said the support of Batswana can push them to do better and be at an advantage before they face the ‘massive and hostile’ supporters of Al Merreikh in Sudan.
Kavazovic’s sentiments were echoed by Rollers captain Maano Ditshupo, who expressed optimism that the team will ‘go far in this competition.’
Ditshupo added that they have been training well ‘knowing that they have a giant to kill and they are ready to take on the red devils tomorrow.’
For his part, Al Merreikh coach Mohamed Abdulrahman said the team is looking forward to their first encounter with Rollers or any Botswana team in CAF competitions, but said this will be no hindrance to their endeavours of progressing further.
“We have never played rollers but we are aware of the game style of Southern Africa,” Mohamed said.
Abdulrahman however conceded that Rollers hold a slight advantage over his team as they have been playing in an ongoing league here in Botswana while his team is yet to kick ball in the Sudani Premier League which has just begun. He however said his team had played friendly matches in preparation for the encounter.
On playing in the scorching heat of Botswana, Abdulrahman said the weather will be of no consequence they are used to extreme heat back in Sudan.
The game starts at 3.45 p.m.