Mamelodi Sundowns has been knocked out of the Caf Champions League by Al Ahly. Orlando Pirates has also been knocked out of Caf Confederation Cup by Raja Casablanca. Kaizer Chiefs has proceeded to the semifinals of Caf Champions League.
As Kaizer Chiefs becomes the only team remaining in the continental competitions, the team’s skipper Bernard Parker has praised his teammates for the character and discipline they showed in coming through their CAF Champions League quarterfinal clash against Tanzanian side Simba.
This was after Amakhosi overcame numerous challenges in the second leg of the quarterfinal away from home in Tanzania.
Parker was speaking on Kaizer Chiefs Website.
“It was a tough one, very tough. We knew it was going to be this tough and prepared ourselves mentally,” lamented Bernard Parker after the game on Saturday before he went on to talk about the tactics employed by Simba. “They kept pumping balls forward and kept our defence busy and on the backfoot. They forced errors out of our defence and they managed to get goals.”
According to Parker, having a crowd inside the stadium helped the home team but he praised his teammates for throwing their bodies on the line to ensure that Chiefs pulled through.
“The crowd was rallying them on and we knew they were going to be more motivated and come out guns blazing,” he says. “We kept our cool; we kept resisting and we kept fighting under those circumstances. When the third goal came in, it was a bit of a worrying factor, but we held on. Well done to Willard Katsande for blocking a shot on the line. The subs who came in also did well.”
For Parker, there are many learning curves from the game which Chiefs can now employ as they head into the semifinal. “We can take a lot of positives out of this match going into the next round knowing that whenever we play away, we have to defend with our lives,” he added. “When we play at home, we have to win and get goals.
“Overall a good fight from the guys and I think if we had given it 10 percent more, we would have got a goal. We looked dangerous on set plays. Every time we got a corner or a free kick, we looked dangerous with a little more belief in ourselves we can go all the way.”
The Chiefs skipper is now hopeful that Chiefs can push beyond their semifinal clash with Wydad and get to the final. “It is now up to us to stick together and stay united. We should push one another and focus on the next match,” he stressed. “It’s been a good match in Tanzania and the reception we received was great. It’s just now for us to soldier on and keep fighting. Thankfully we are in the next round.”
Parker also enjoyed playing in front of fans for the first time in over a year. He concluded by saying: “All our faces lit up when we saw supporters in the stands. We all miss our supporters and it was good to play with supporters in the stadium. it was a wonderful game and the referee was fair. Thanks to the group of Chiefs fans who came to support on the day and for living up to the love and peace slogan.”