SuperSport prepare for 17-hour trip to Sudan

SuperSport United will field their strongest possible team during their Caf Confederation Cup clash against little-known El Ahly Shandy at Sudan’s Shendi Stadium in on Sunday.
This is despite the demanding schedule next week where they are expected to play two matches in four days‚ in the middle of a long-haul 17-hour return trip to Sudan via Qatar.
Twenty-four hours after returning from Sudan‚ SuperSport fly to Pietermaritzburg to take on National First Division (NFD) side Royal Eagles in the last-32 of the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday‚ in which the Pretoria team are defending champions.
Speaking as SuperSport prepared to leave for Sudan tomorrow, coach Stuart Baxter said yesterday his side had no choice but to meet the exciting but daunting challenge and show respect to the Confed Cup by fielding their strongest lineup.
“We have to meet the challenge in every way and put the best team we can out there‚ and do the best we can‚” he said.
“We have a 17-hour trip to and back from Sudan.
“After the match on Sunday‚ we get into a bus in the middle of the night through the desert for 2½ hours to get to Khartoum and fly to Qatar and back here.
“And 24 hours later we fly to Durban before we play in the Nedbank Cup against Royal Eagles.
“It is not easy but we have to master it as best we can because we can’t feel sorry for ourselves or make excuses.”
Baxter said he had managed to obtain bits and pieces of footage on Shandy‚ though not enough to prepare thoroughly.
“It is difficult in the early rounds because you are playing against teams who are not in season and there is little footage of them‚ but we have a little bit and we will know their basic shape‚” he said. The coach said he preferred to play first-leg games away from home.
“This is the first game away from home – then we can bring them here and see what result we have,” he said.
Meanwhile, Baxter is on the verge of extending his contract at the club.
He did not want to elaborate on when his contract with United is due to end‚ and was an outsider for the vacant Bafana Bafana job together with big hitters Carlos Queiroz‚ Herve Renard and Hugo Broos.
Queiroz seems to be out of the running for the Bafana job because he is tied up by high-figure release clauses in contracts with employers in Iran and Morocco.
Renard claims the Africa Cup of Nations winner with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015, but has not been contacted by Safa.
Broos‚ reported to be looking for a new challenge after leading unfancied Cameroon to Nations Cup success in January‚ appears to be the favourite to replace fired Shakes Mashaba.
Mashaba is battling his dismissal at Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

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