Township Rollers and Jwaneng Galaxy will be miles away from home as they begin their respective CAF club competitions journeys.
Popa make a familiar trip to Tanzania to face Young Africans on Saturday while Galaxy Stars are visiting the island nation of Mauritius to play Bolton City this evening.
Rollers will be hoping to repeat their 2017 feat of reaching the CAF Championships League group stages. Their journey, however, begins with a visit to a familiar foe in the Yanga.
The two teams met in the second round of the tournament last year where Rollers emerged 2-1 victors on aggregate.
The pair had played to a goalless draw in Gaborone and Rollers put on a brave performance in Tanzania winning the tie 2-1. The team’s coach, Tomas Trucha feels his side is ready for the game after a series of high profile international friendly games. Popa have played South Africa’s SuperSport United, African Stars and Simba SC of Tanzania.
He is nonetheless worried by the hostile environment that awaits the Blues at the 60,000 capacity National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
“We have to be ready for it, Tanzania is a big country, and the league is also strong. So we have to be strong and be prepared for anything. I have talked to the boys, I have shown them videos of Yanga play,” Trucha
“At the end of the day, it is the Champions League so we have to enjoy it. Players should not be nervous; the pressure is on both sides here. If you lose you are out, if you win then there are a few games to play before the group stage.”
Galaxy on the other hand are looking to make up for a rather disappointing debut season in the CAF Continental Cup.
The mining boys were knocked out by Mozambican side, Costa da Sol 2-0 aggregate score last year. They visit an inexperienced side in the continental club competitions, Bolton FC at the Stade George V that houses only 6,200 fans. Bolton will be competing in their first ever CAF match. Galaxy’s coach, Miguel da Costa will prove to be the difference on the evening.
Da Costa has some continental club competition experience, as he led Ugandan side, Vipers to the second round of the CAF Champions League in 2017.
The team will all the same feel the pinch of not playing competitive football, as their day’s opponents have been involved in the ongoing Mauritian league. Rollers and Galaxy will play the return leg on the weekend of August 23-25.