African Stars Ready for Tough Raja Casablanca Encounter
African Stars assistant coach Andrew Tjahikika says they respect defending champions Raja Casablanca ahead of their 2018/2019 CAF Confederation Cup showdown on Saturday in Windhoek.
African Stars assistant coach Andrew Tjahikika says they respect defending champions Raja Casablanca but the Samba Boys are not a small team either as their 2018/2019 CAF Confederation Cup showdown looms on Saturday in Windhoek.
Stars and the Moroccan giants meet in their debut competitive clash at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, in a clash of two teams with contrasting financial standings.
On one side is a fabulously-rich Raja Casablanca, the last edition’s champions whose assets their opponents Africa Stars and most African clubs can only dream of.
The Namibian side lost out narrowly on a Confederation of African Football Champions League group spot when going down 1-0 over two legs to South African powerhouse Orlando Pirates in December.
Tjahikika said every coach plans to win and their pre-group first leg match at home will provide them with a big chance to the next stage, though he is wary of the threat posed by their opponents.
“We will be playing a big team in Africa. We are going to rely mostly on our defensive strength, and then try to counter our opponent. We know Raja do not play a game based on an individual. They play as a team. A team that plays as a unit is difficult to beat,” he said as quoted by The Namibian.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “We have proven that when we played Pirates, we played the same style where we moved in units and within playing zones. This made it difficult for them on their home ground and here.” [/perfectpullquote]
He continued: “So, we are going to apply the same mentality and approach. We will use our speedy wings to come quickly into Raja’s defensive third to unsettle them and try to get an early goal as early as possible. So, for that, we need to have a good cutting edge.”
“We are cognizant of the fact that we need to win here, and solidify that position in Morocco by trying to get a draw. As the stats showed when we played in Comoros and South Africa, we did not concede any goals, so we hope the defensive discipline continues.”
Raja Casablanca have won the CAF Champions League on three occasions – 1989, 1997 and 1999 – and have made 16 appearances in the competition.
They won the CAF Confederations Cup in 2003 and last year. The Moroccan team also finished as runners-up in the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup.
The team has 11 league titles and eight Moroccan Throne Cups under their belt.
Since their inception, Raja Casablanca have always had a reputation of being a team of artists playing enjoyable and entertaining football.
For African Stars, they are current reigning champions of the Namibian Premier League. This is a club that was formed in 1952 and has won their domestic league championship on four occasions.