By Ben Efe
WARRI Wolves have so far rode the storm in their CAF Confederation Cup campaign successfully, the flamboyant team from the Oil City have set their sights on the continental title on a first try, but they face a litmus test today as they clash with visiting Caps United of Zimbabwe.
Winning todayâ€™s match with a reasonable margin will usher the Wolves nearer to their ambition, of reaching the final of the competition. However, they must have to cope with the pressure from the home fans and wait for Caps United to slip on the plastic pitch of the Warri Town ship stadium just like the others before them.
By now Caps United must have shaken off the fatigue after a cumbersome flight path from Harare to Warri left them breathless. After two days of refreshment and light training, CoachÂ Lloyd Chitembwe and his men indicated that they did not come all the way from Zimbabwe to lay down and die, while Warri Wolves march on to victory.
They will hoping that striker, Nyasha Mushekwi can bring his international experience to bear and score at least just once.
This is why coach Lawrence Akpokona must work out a strategy that will ensure a clean win for his side. The Wolves must forget their invincibility on home ground and play good football, which makes goal scoring so easy and sweet victory is guaranteed.
In their last home game against Zesco United the Wolves were simply fantastic with a 3-0 win. They tore the Zambian side apart like a clock that needs repair, but surprisingly the Wolves succumbed to a 2-0 loss in the return leg. This is a testimony of the poor away record the Wolves have paraded in their domestic and continental campaigns.
This is something Caps will want to cash on, they will aim to keep the scores down and then chase the Wolves out of town and out of the CAF Confederation Cup in Harare.
Akpokona blamed suspension and injuries for his loss at the last away game. Hope fully he must have learnt his lessons, he simply needs to get his team working with efficiency, no matter the circumstances.
He has in the course of his local and international campaigns relied on different players rather than have a standing team that will gradually roll into a solid blend.
Caps United began their campaign on scrappy note. They advance to the second after beating Mbabane Highlanders of Lesotho 8-7( penalty), after aggregate scores from both legs ended 1-1. Against Moroka Swallows, Caps United moved on with a 2-1 aggregate scores. While on the other hand the Wolves beat Athletico Olympics of Burundi in Warri 1-0 and drew 1-1 away at Bujumbura.
Their biggest win was against Zesco, which they edged out on 3-2 aggregate.
Wolves coach is confident that his boys will make Warri fans smile at the end of the game.
â€œThe players have the confidence and we have the necessary support; thatâ€˜s all you need to aim for the trophy,â€ Akpokona said.