As Chiefs prepare to open the CAF Champions League campaign against Horoya on Tuesday evening at the FNB Stadium, Amakhosi fans will remember that it was on 7 February 1993 when Chiefs first participated in the competition. They were South Africa’s first representatives in Africa’s Premier Continental Competition. It was a journey to Gaborone in February 1993 which saw Chiefs begin their first odyssey into continental competition as Amakhosi defeated Extension Gunners in the first leg of their Preliminary Round tie 1-0. Twenty- eight years later, Chiefs are now moving into a new phase of competing on the continent as they take on Horoya in what is Chiefs first game in the group stages of the CAF Champions League.
Chiefs were meant to have already started their champions league campaign but their trip to Morocco for their Group C opener against Wydad Casablanca on 13 February was cancelled after not being issued with the visas. They will now open up against the Guineans who won their opening group game against Petro de Luanda of Angola. The game against Horoya AC is Chiefs’ first meeting against a Guinean opposition in African club competition. But for Horoya, this is their fifth game against a PSL opposition, having faced Sundowns in 2018 and Pirates in 2018-19 home and away ties. All these meetings coming in the group stages of the CAF Champions League.
Horoya also faced BIDVest Wits in the 2019-20 CAF Confederations Cup group stages, the first game between sides in Johannesburg ended 0-0 Horoya won their home game 2-1. Gavin Hunt was coach of BIDVest Wits in those games and will be facing them in continental competition for a second time.
Horoya’s previous four CAF Champions League group stage encounters against South African clubs in 2018 against Sundowns saw both games end in a draw while against Pirates in 2018-19 they lost in South Africa to Pirates 3-0 and won their home game 2-1. Horoya have on the two previous occasions they have been drawn with South African clubs managed to progress to the Quarterfinals ahead of them – a stat that Chiefs will be looking to alter. Horoya have also failed to score in their two previous games in South Africa in the CAF Champions League.
Amakhosi have made a sound start to their 2020-21 CAF Champions League campaign. They started by defeating Cameroonian side PWD Bamenda 1-0 on aggregate in the Preliminary round and then won by the same aggregate score-line against Angolan outfit Primeiro De Agosto in the first round. Chiefs are undefeated in their last five games in the CAF Champions League and have gone a total of 397 minutes in the competition without having their defence breached. Should Chiefs go undefeated, it will be the first time in the CAF Champions League that they would go six games without losing.
While this is Chiefs first game against Horoya, Khama Billiat scored against them in a group stage game in the CAF Champions League in May 2018 in Guinea for Sundowns, a game which ended 2-2, while Anthony Akumu Agay was in the Zesco United team that defeated them 4-3 on aggregate and eliminated them in the first round from the CAF Champions League in 2016.
Tuesday’s game will kick off at 18:00 and in keeping with CAF protocol, it will be played without any spectators at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Chiefs will be aiming to kick start their campaign with a win against Horoya who are in the Group stages for the 11th time. Chiefs are the sixth different South African club to participate in the CAF Champions League along with Ajax Cape Town, Mamelodi Sundowns, Manning Rangers, Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United.