CAPE TOWN - Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Dillon Sheppard has urged his players to be alert to early scoring opportunities against hosts Simba SC in the return leg of their Caf Champions League quarter-final tie at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.
Sheppard reasoned that because of his team's 4-0 aggregate advantage after the first leg at FNB Stadium, Simba will be hell-bent on scoring an early goal to spark a miraculous comeback, much like they did 42 years ago.
In a social media post on Tuesday, Caf reported that Simba overcame incredible odds in the past. In 1979 they staged a miraculous comeback after losing 4-0 at home in the first leg of a Champions League first-round match against Zambia's Mufulira Wanderers. In the return leg, they won 5-0, and the feat ranks as one of the greatest comebacks in the annals of Caf history.
"We had a great result in the first leg after scoring four goals against a top team like Simba," said Sheppard. "It is going to be different away from home, and we would have liked it to be the other way around.
"Rather play away first so that you know what the target is when you play the return leg at home.
"Training has gone well this week, and the players are aware of what they have to do.
"We need to make sure they don't score more goals than we scored in the first leg.
"We know that will be throwing bodies forward in an attempt to score an early goal. It will open them up, and we will find opportunities for an early away goal which will help us to settle down."
Caf's post about the historic comeback will no doubt serve as a morale booster for Simba. Yesterday Caf posted another news item, which will also lift spirits in the Kings' camp.
Caf yesterday announced that all Saturday's match officials are from the same region as the Tanzanian giants Simba, whose mother body is a member of Caf's Central-East Zone. The officials are all from Burundi, who are also members of the Central-East Zone.
"As players (the technical staff) who have played in Africa we know there are going to be difficulties," said Sheppard. "When these difficulties arise, we must make sure we stay focussed.
"We have heard of things that happen, be it with transport or at the stadium, so we must be prepared.
"Our approach to the game is going to be critical because we cannot go out there and concentrate on defence only.
"Whatever we do, we must ensure they don't control the game."