AKBAY PRAISES CHAMPS

21 March 2017

 

Erol Akbay

HIGHLANDERS coach Erol Akbay has congratulated CAPS United for reaching the CAF Champions league mini-league stage.

However, the Dutchman says CAPS United’s great display against African powerhouse TP Mazembe in two legs will not intimidate them in the ZNA charities final at National Sports Stadium this week.

Bosso were ruthless against FC Platinum in the semis, brushing aside the highly-rated platinum miners 3-0 to book a place in the final.

This, in many ways, will be a clash between a team on cloud nine and another eager to show their real colours after crumbling in the second half of the season last season.

“Oh no, we are not afraid of them at all! But I’m happy for CAPS United that they have done well in Africa. That just shows how good a club they are. It is clear that it is not easy to beat them but we believe we have what it takes to show them what we can do,” said Akbay.

Asked if he thinks CAPS United will now go on and do well in the group stages, he said: “In football anything can happen. Of course we know that in Africa, there are great teams left. There is no doubt about that.

“They can make surprises again like they did on Sunday. I watched the match on television and they showed they have the quality and they seem to be better than they were last season.”

CAPS will now find themselves face-to-face with some of the very best in Africa – the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns, Zamalek, Al Ahly, Esperance and AS Vita.

After the goalless draw against TP Mazembe to progress on away goals rule, CAPS United players have been clear that anything will be possible now.

This week they will have to however turn their attention to the local rivals Bosso.

“We are really looking forward to that match. We know it will not be easy but I think it will be a very game.

“The good thing is that it will not be easy for them as well. We have to try and make sure that we win this one,” Akbay added.

CAPS have in recent seasons enjoyed a better record than Bosso at National Sports Stadium. The champions are invincible playing at the giant stadium.

Lloyd Chitembwe’s charges remain strong, having lost only Stephen Makatuka after last season.

At Bosso the arrival of striker Rodreck Mutuma seems to have freshened up things.

“They (CAPS) have the same team, nothing much changed and they look more solid. But we believe we have also improved our squad in many ways and will be better this season, starting with the game against them,” Akbay said.