By Innocent Kurira
TRIANGLE FC coach Taurai Mangwiro says his team’s African Safari has helped them in many aspects of the game, but at the same time derailed their efforts to fight for silverware in the local league.
The Lowveld-based side suffered a shock 0-2 defeat to Bulawayo Chiefs in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League on Sunday, which saw them dropping to eighth place on the table, 14 points behind log leaders Caps United.
“On one hand l would say playing in the continental competition has helped us, but on the other hand given us retardation in terms of competing in the local league. But l wouldn’t regret playing in the continental competition. Of late we have not been doing well in the local league although we did well in the Chibuku Super Cup first round,” said Mangwiro.
“In the Caf Confederation Cup we have the two matches that are pending and have to be ready for them. To be honest we are happy that we avoided the seeded teams; those are the perennial campaigners in continental competitions.
“But the fact that our opponents are champions in their countries means we have to give them the respect that they deserve. We will put up a fight and hopefully get to the mini-league stage. If you win the Chibuku Super Cup or the league, you know you are bound to play in the continental competitions, so we had plenty of time to assemble a side that we felt would be able to launch a formidable challenge on both fronts.
“I will not say playing in the Confederation Cup has impacted the team negatively because there is a huge reward that comes with participation in that competition. If we are to go into the mini-league phase, we would have done enough to cushion ourselves given the tough economic conditions in the country,” Mangwiro said.
The Sugar Boys are enjoying a dream debut in the Confederation Cup and were last week drawn against FC Nouadhibou of Mauritania in the play-offs of the competition. Nouadhibou were relegated from the Caf Champions League after losing 1-6 on aggregate to Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.
Their campaign will begin with an away trip on October 27 before returning home for the decisive second-leg on November 3. The winner of the two-legged fixture will progress to the mini-league stage. The Chronicle