ALGIERS – In form CAPS United striker Abbas Amidu is optimistic of victory in tomorrow night’s do-or-die African Champions League clash against USM Alger (USMA) at the Stade Omar Hammadi in Algeria.
The Zimbabwean champions endured a 19-hour journey which took them through Addis Ababa, Rome, Italy before arriving in the Algerian capital of Algiers during mid-morning yesterday for what will be their biggest game in the competition.
Makepekepe are currently in third place in Group B with six points while USMA are top of the pool with eight points.
Libyan side Al Ahli Tripoli are in second place with eight points with Egyptian giants Zamalek anchoring the table with only five points.
A win tomorrow night by any margin will see the Green Machine qualify for the quarter-finals of the tournament.
After the long trip to Algiers, the Makepekepe players were given a five-hour rest and took part in a training session last night at 9pm.
“This is going to be a very big game for us because they now know what we are capable of doing.
“Remember most teams in our team were underestimating us at first but we surprised them. Football has changed a lot,” Amidu told the Daily News after arriving in Algiers.
“In fact, it was the first thing before the tournament even started. Not many people were giving us a chance to even reach the group stages but look at us today. So I believe it is down to us as players to make sure we reach the quarter-finals.
“I believe it’s a possible mission and all we need to do is to work hard the same way that we have been doing in the previous matches.
“Our group is wide open and we just need to do our best. We have nothing to lose and all we need to do is to get maximum points at all costs.”
Playing away from home, Makepekepe will be tempted to approach the game cautiously and try to score on the break.
“I believe if we can defend well and try to hurt them on the counter, we will achieve our goal,” Amidu, who scored a brace in the 3-1 win over Zamalek last month said.
“Hard work has no limitations but of course, we need not put ourselves under pressure. We have come here with one goal and that is to pick up a positive result.
“I don’t want to be satisfied with those two goals I scored in Harare against Zamalek. I am still motivated to do more. I am aiming higher and want to continue to get those goals.”
Makepekepe assistant coach Tostao Kwashi said: “It’s a big game of course and it does not need even a coach to motivate anyone. The game on its own is enough motivation to the players.
“I think they need to apply themselves the same way they did against Zamalek last weekend. They need to show the same passion and if they do that we will get a good result. We need to build from that win.
“At the same time, we are not putting them under pressure because they need to play with freedom. It’s a must win game for us but at the same time also we need to play with a lot of intelligence.
“We will have to stay focussed throughout and make sure that the occasion will not get the better of us. It’s important that we contain them since they are playing at home and they are likely to come at us.”