FOR the first time in the 2014 Caf Confederation Cup, Zimbabwe’s representatives in the competition How Mine will play the first leg of the second round away from home against Bayelsa United of Nigeria after playing the first two stages first legs at home.
The gold miners will travel to Nigeria for the first leg that will be played on the weekend of March 21 to 23.
How Mine began their Caf Confederation Cup preliminary stage campaign at home against Chuoni of Zanzibar whom they thumped 4-0 and the first round first leg against St Michel FC of the Seychelles also at home whom they once again gave a 5-1 rude awakening.
They have so far written their own piece of history by becoming the first newly-promoted Zimbabwean club to reach that stage of the CAF competition in their first season in the top-flight league.
Head coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube said although they were going to be away from home for the first leg, they were hoping it would not affect them.
“The fans are important as they are the 12th man and we will miss them when we play away. We will, however, have to support each other and the 25-member delegation that will go to Nigeria will have to do that job,” he said.
Ncube’s side had taken advantage of starting their matches at home to get comfortable leads.
“We have to go to Nigeria and get a draw or a win. If they are going to win, we should not let them score a lot of goals. We should at least restrict them to a goal or at 2-1. We should not allow then to have a healthy lead,” he said.
Ncube said complacency was the major factor behind their 3-1 loss to St Michel in the Seychelles in the second leg of the first
“One thing I can tell you that really contributed to our loss was complacency. That team (St Michel) did their homework well and they got two quick goals. We tried to resist, but we conceded another goal.
“This time we should not give away a goal and we will avoid a lot of pressure,” he said.
Ncube said they were going into the match against Bayelsa to qualify for the next round.
He said although they do not know much about the team, the fact that they come from a powerful footballing country says a lot about them.
“We started our training today (yesterday). The players have had enough rest. We know nothing about the team, but the fact that they are from Nigeria says a lot about them.
“Nigeria is one of the highest ranked countries in Africa in terms of football. We should be very wary of them. They are probably a good side and we need to prepare,” Ncube said.
He said injured players Xolisani Moyo and Edmore Muzanenhamo had recovered well before their Seychelles match although they were still to get confirmation from the doctor on Warren Dube.
“They played the full 90 minutes in the Seychelles.
“We are still to get the doctor on Warren. Since we are starting away this time we need our full squad. There will, however, be a number of changes especially in the defence,” he said.
There is a chance that veteran defender Hebert Dick, who missed both first round matches, could return to inject some experience into the squad.