Leopards: we’re ready for the worst

2012-03-31 20:20

It’s worth the experience and we had prepared ourselves for the worst from the onset, says Black Leopards skipper Mongezi Bobe.

“We have heard all the stories before but we can now relate to what it feels like playing in other African countries.”

The Leopards travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a return clash against St Eloi Lupopo on Friday and if they preserve their 4-2 lead from the first leg, the Limpopo-based outfit will make it into the last 16.

Bobe said their first victory away from home against Motor Action in Zimbabwe during the preliminary round laid a solid foundation for them.

“At least the distance travelled was a bit reasonable as we flew for about two hours to Zimbabwe and our hosts were not hostile towards us.”

Lidoda Duvha were held to a 1-1 draw at home but won 2-0 away.

“When we landed at Harare Airport, we bade goodbye to our home comforts.

“We are used to travelling in our big luxury coach with aircon but in Zimbabwe we were crammed inside a mini bus! There were also power outages at our hotel as electricity kept on tripping all the time.”

Bobe said they suddenly “felt at home” on match day at Rufaro Stadium as the local fans were on their side.

“They were mainly Dynamos and Caps United followers, who are Action’s territorial rivals. The stadium was not packed but the fans gave us a push.”

After a night’s rest, Bobe said they embarked on an extended trip back home.

“We left on a Monday and connected from OR Tambo Airport to Durban to honour our postponed fixture against Golden Arrows.”

By the time they faced Lupopo at Giyani Stadium last Saturday, Leopards had played seven games in 21 days.

“We fight like soldiers and we are united in song in the dressing room and in the bus. We are motivated by the fact that we sort of become the national team as we represent the country in the Confed Cup,” said Bobe, who is one of the longest-serving players at Leopards.

“We expect the worst in the DRC but whatever happens there, we are ready for it.”

If they succeed in the DRC, Leopards will then have to play either Warri Wolves of FC Kallon. If they win they will qualify for the group phase in which the two group winners and the two runners-up qualify for the semifinals.

Club director David Thidiela said: “The boys have vowed to do their level best to make the country proud.”

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