Township Rollers coach Nikola Kavazovic has admitted that chances of making it out of their group and advancing to the quarter finals of the CAF Champions League are as good as dead following their 1-0 loss to Al Ahly over the weekend.
The local side who went into the game with three points from three outings, were aiming to get back to winning ways after they were served with two back to back defeats at the hands of Esperance (4-1) and Al Ahly (3-0) away from home which saw them move down to third in the group.
Despite the locals enjoying the better of the possession in the encounter, and also doing well to contain Africa’s most successful side for most parts of the game, it was Ahly who still emerged as winners in the game courtesy of a powerful header by defender Coulibaly in the closing stages following some indecisive marking in the box by Rollers defenders.
Speaking in his post-match interview, he told reporters that although they mathematically still have a chance, it will be extremely difficult to advance to the next stage.
“Had we won the game, we would have moved to six points, that would have meant that we need three more points from the remaining two games. I was pretty sure that we would beat Esperance here at home and go into the quarter finals,” said the Rollers coach.
“Now they (Al Ahly) have seven points now, maths is easy they will need only two points from those remaining two games and as for us we would need a 100% record in the remaining two games and get all six points and that is very impossible, “ added Kavazovic.
The Serbian coach also pointed out that the reason why they failed to cope against these big teams was a clear indication that the stage was just too big for his players and they had reached the ceiling in terms of their abilities.
“I am very proud that we were able to keep four consecutive clean sheets at home (Al Merrick, Young Africans, KCCA and Mamelodi Sundowns) and the goal we conceded was after 80 minutes and I can agree that this is now too much for us. We have come to a stage that is too much for us, this is our limit and we cannot go over it,” reiterated the coach.
“We will use the next three months to prepare for the next edition of the Champions League and hope to reach the quarter finals, and obviously with a bit of luck, because when I saw that we had been drawn against Al Ahly and Esperance I immediately wanted to leave, because I knew how difficult it would be to progress to the next round,” he concluded.
Rollers will now play Esperance in their next game, next month. The Tunisian side have already qualified for the quarter finals after they defated KCCA 1-0 in Kampala. They are currently first in the group with 10 points from four games.