/ 11 March 2009

United expects tough encounter with Kampala

SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt is taking no chances when the Premier Soccer League champions meet their Ugandan counterparts Kampala City Council in their African Champions League, second round, first leg tie on Friday. Kick-off is at 3pm South African time.

The match in Kampala was scheduled for Saturday but was brought forward to Friday due to the fact that the stadium is not available on Saturday or Sunday.

United left for Kampala on Wednesday to prepare for the clash.

Said United coach Gavin Hunt: ”It does not matter which day we play. All that matters is we return with a win and take a step forward to our goal of reaching the quarterfinal group stage.” Hunt said he had watched DVDs of Kampala CC and was expecting a tough physical encounter.

”Apart from the DVDs we are a bit in the dark, but I expect them to come at us and they look a strong, physical side on the DVDs. At home they look a bit of a handful, but I reckon we can handle them.”

Hunt is more than happy to play the first leg away and tackle the Ugandan champs at the Super Stadium in two weeks. ”It is always an advantage playing the first leg away, especially if we can score an away goal and get a win.” Hunt will travel with his full squad expect those players who are not registered for the competition who were signed in the January transfer window, midfielders Lance Davids, striker Excellent Walaza and Lerato Chabangu.

Said Hunt: ”We do not have a big squad, but I reckon we have enough depth and have no major injuries. We have one more knockout round before we get into the group phase and them we can register more players.”

Players such as strikers Norman Smith will likely get a chance to stake a claim for a regular place if Hunt plays him in place of Chabangu.

Daine Klate, who came back from a four-month layoff due to a broken collar bone in the last round against Mauritian champions Curepipe, will be looking to get back to form after his quiet performance in United’s 2-0 loss to Orlando Pirates in the first round of the Nedbank Cup played at Ellis Park last weekend.

Although Hunt has targeted the quarterfinal phase of the Champions League, United are still top of the Absa Premiership and are six points ahead of second placed Pirates, who have a match in hand.

Said Hunt: ”No player or coach likes to lose in a cup match, but maybe it will work for us as it means we can now focus on retaining the league and doing well in the Champions League.

”We did not play well against Pirates and the players know that I expect a much better response when we play in Kampala. We had played three matches per week for the past three weeks and were flat against Pirates, but that is still no excuse. We must bounce back against Kampala.”

Last season’s PSL runners-up Ajax Cape Town open their Champions League campaign when they play Zimbabwe´s Monomotapa at Boland Rugby Stadium in Wellington on Saturday. Kick-off is at 4pm. — Sapa