Lehlohonolo Seema learns fast. A single match into his maiden season in continental football and the coach of Sekhukhune United knows not to take the opposition at their word
Ahead of their Caf Confederation Cup, Group A clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, his Diables Noirs counterpart Cyril Donga spoke about how they are going into the clash blind.
“The two teams have never met and we have had no chance to view any videos of the opponents. So we will discover each other on the pitch. Also relying on videos cannot dictate tactics. We will see what Sekhukhune offers and deal with it on the pitch,” Donga said during their pre-match media conference at the match venue.
Told about this, Seema laughed it all off as gamesmanship.
“I don’t buy it when they say they don’t know us,” he responded with a chuckle “They know us very well. I bet you they will give you the names of all our players and even their maiden names if the players had. You cannot go into a game of this magnitude without doing your homework.”
It is because he did his homework on the Congolese side that Seema assumed they researched his team.
“We have videos and we will be analysing them with the players before we have our training session.”
He was, however, right to some extent - the Congolese outfit’s captain Mbemba Kambamba saying that they have an idea of what to expect from their adversaries based on their knowledge of South African football from previous clashes.
“We believe we made mistakes against Stade Malien (who beat them 3-1 in the opening match) and we are here to correct that. We may not have played Sekhukhune before, but I played against the South Africa Under-23 team and we know how they play. We also played against Orlando Pirates.”
His coach chirped in saying, they have an idea of what the South African game is like: “We know that South African football is a bit more like Brazilian one and they are not physical.”
Such was the tough talk from Seema though that Donga could well be in for a shock, Sekhukhune seemingly set to go all gung-ho as they look to win their home match following last weekend’s 2-0 defeat away to Morocco’s RS Berkane.
“We are expecting a very difficult game. In this competition it is important to win your home game. They lost their first game and if they don’t get a result their chances (of progressing to the knockout stage) become slim. The same applies to us because we lost away although the worst result should have been a draw. But it was a learning curve. So we are in the same situation as then, if we want to progress then tomorrow’s match is a must win. We are focused and taking this game seriously.”
The tie is scheduled for an uncharacteristically late 9pm kick-off which could see Sekhukhune enjoying very little support from the stands Seema is hopeful though that ‘Babina Noko’ will come to cheer them on although he says they will perform irrespective of the turnout
““As long as the referee and the ball are there, whether it is two or r three people in the stadium watching - as few as they will be, even if it was behind closed doors - we want to get the three points. We are ready and we want to go further in this competition,”