CAF Champions League

A fit Manyama could be a match-winner for Kaizer Chiefs against Wydad Casablanca

08:40 SAST 2021/06/21
Lebogang Manyama celebrates Kaizer Chiefs Nkosingiphile Ngcobo Bernard Parker
Samir Nurkovic scored what could potentially be a priceless away goal for the Glamour Boys in their win at the Mohamed V Stadium last Saturday evening

With a 1-0 lead over Wydad Casablanca from the first leg semi-final match in Morocco, Kaizer Chiefs will be looking to finish off the job at FNB Stadium this Saturday.

While it was a stunning result for the South Africans up in North Africa, the tie remains very much in the balance against a team that can probably count itself among the top five clubs on the continent over the past five years.

As illustrated by this record in the Champions League:

2016: Semi-finals
2017: Champion
2018: Quarter-finals
2018–19: Runner-up
2019–20: Semi-finals

Wydad are clearly the most formidable of opponents and it's to Chiefs' great credit that they've beaten them twice already this season.

It's going to take a big effort for them to do it again, or at least secure a draw, and the Soweto team is going to need every advantage they can get.

And that includes Lebogang Manyama, who is in a race against time to get fit after missing the first leg through a knee injury.

It's one though which caretaker coach Arthur Zwane feels the forward can recover from.

“It is just unfortunate that we will be missing Lebo in this game because of a knee injury‚ but we hope that he will be fully recovered when we play the second leg back home‚" Zwane said ahead of last weekend's match in Morocco.

What Manyama will bring to the team is pace on the counter, because with Amakhosi likely to be spending a lot of time defending, they will need an out ball - a forward option to hit, someone who can stretch the Wydad defence with his speed.

And someone who can score goals on the break. Because before getting injured, Manyama had seemingly been getting back to his best form and his confidence had been high after a superb hat-trick against Golden Arrows.

It had indeed been from a counter attack that Chiefs registered their goal in Morocco on Saturday – Nurkovic finished with a first-time effort after Njabulo Blom had found space down the right-wing.

With Khama Billiat and Dumisani Zuma also sidelined with injury, Chiefs don’t have many options in terms of speedy, skillful runners who can put defences under pressure.

Having Manyama as a possibility, even if it’s 25 minutes from the bench late on in the game, could potentially be a match-winning option for Amakhosi.