Amakhosi are seeking to at least make it to the group stage of the continental premier club competition
Kaizer Chiefs defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele believes passing the Primeiro Agosto hurdle and reaching the Caf Champions League group stage will heighten chances of advancing to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Chiefs host the Angolan giants on Wednesday in a first round, first leg match at FNB Stadium as they bid to book a group stage berth for the first time ever in their history.
Amid enduring a troubled season, the Soweto giants sneaked into the first round following an unconvincing preliminary round display as per coach Gavin Hunt’s admission against Cameroonian champions PWD Bamenda.
Now they face what could be a tougher task and Mphahlele says they know what they are coming up against Agosto who reached the 2018 Champions League semi-finals.
“We are preparing well, we know they are a good team. We are aware of the danger that they are going to cause, so we are preparing our team,” Mphahlele told Chiefs media.
“Obviously we are playing at home and we want to get good results so that when we go to Angola we have a chance of reaching the group stage. I think it is also important that we take this game seriously because we are just two games away from the group stage of the Caf Champions League.
“From there you are playing the big boys and the chances of going to the quarter-finals are very high. So we are taking it very seriously and we want to give it everything that we have since we are struggling a little bit locally. But we want to do well in this competition.”
Going into this match on the backdrop of a six-match winless run in the Premier Soccer League, Chiefs are keen to successfully confront Agosto and ease their domestic woes.
Mphahlele is one of the most experienced players in the Chiefs squad after helping Mamelodi Sundowns in their road to the 2016 Champions League triumph.
Mphahlele, however, did not get to the final after abandoning the Downs ship midway the campaign to join Chiefs but from experience, he is aware of the “dog eat dog” nature of the Champions League and the “dirty in Africa.”
“The Champions League is a different ball game. You are meeting people that you have never seen,” said Mphahlele.
“Some of the players at Primeiro play for the [Angola] national team and we know them. Obviously PSL we know each other and we tend to get a little bit soft but with these guys its a dog eat dog out there.
“We have to fight because it’s a once-off game and it’s dirty in Africa. Playing there is hard, the conditions are hard. It’s not the best, so it’s a different ball game to play in the Champions League. I just hope that we are prepared for it and we will give it everything we have.”
Mphahlele feels that Chiefs need more game time to correct their difficult season and does not mind being involved in action two days before Christmas Day.
“Honestly at this time of the year I would rather be playing football rather than doing anything else,” said Mphahlele.
“I’m happy that we are playing football. We need to play as much football as we can in the state that we find ourselves in. I think this is a blessing in disguise. We are playing games and trying to improve every game.”