Pitso Mosimane has confirmed four changes for this weekend’s CAF Champions League semi-final
second leg tie against ZESCO United as he soldiers on with the quest to conquer the continent, against all odds.
With a loaded fixture schedule this month, Mosimane has been having to sift his squad for the string of matches that they have had to play, as they approach their fifth game within less than two weeks.
From the team that started against Chippa United, Ricardo Nascimento, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Yannick Zakri will make way as they are all not registered for continental football this season, while Asavela Mbekile will step aside for the recovered Siyanda Zwane.
“On Saturday we will have a different team, with about four players falling off from the team and we are bringing four up,” Mosimane told reporters on Thursday.
“We have to try and manage the injuries to people like Siyanda Zwane, obviously, Leo [Castro] is not yet back and, hopefully, Khama [Billiat] keeps going with that groin.
“We dropped two points [with the team that played] in Maritzburg and we are behind now in the league. Last year and the year before that, in our budget, we always have three points from there, but now it is gone so the 71 points is starting to be affected to be honest.
“I need to manage the team and the difference is in getting the team to play the same way with different personnel. What makes it difficult is that we never had a pre-season.
“They [new players] must understand the philosophy – that is the challenge. We have the numbers but we don’t have the team as players,” he added.
True to Mosimane’s words, The Brazilians are limited in CAF as several players that they had registered for this competition at the beginning of the year have since left the club, and cannot be replaced.
“The one [team] that plays on Saturday is a little bit together because they have been there, but it is limited in terms of options because we have lost eight [players].
“We have lost Leo [to injury], [Mokagolodi] Ngele, [Cuthbert] Malajila, [Katlego] Mashego, Cheeseboy [Mokoena], Surprise [Moriri]… All those guys are no longer here.
“We have lost about eight and, when you have two injuries or three, it becomes hectic. Away at ZESCO, we had 17 players. How can you take 17 on a crucial away game like that?
He continued: “But we had to because we don’t have the numbers. So I think [Themba] Zwane comes back – because he had an injury that he sustained in Ndola, and he also had a yellow card in that match. He comes back and at least the boy from Free State Stars [Lucky Mohomi] was registered on time.
“We would have been happy to have Thapelo [Morena], ‘Vila’ [Sibusiso Vilakazi] and everyone else on time. Zakri, we couldn’t have him because he was playing Champions League [with ASEC Mimosas], but this is not the time to be complaining about numbers and the programme.
“The programme is just the way it is and I think this is the time to thrive on a good slogan of ‘against all odds’ and it is also time to thrive on the slogan of ‘a luta continua, vitoria e certa’ [the struggle continues, victory is certain].
“That is what we are talking now, we need to go. I don’t want to complain about why the programme is like this because you guys [media] have been vocal about it,” concluded ‘Jingles’.