SA needs to give Africa priority - Gamondi

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Stars are making their debut in the continental club competition this year and meet Ahly later this month in the Last 16 stage.

“The problem in South Africa is that the African Champions League is not taken seriously. There is not so much interest about playing in African club competitions,” says Gamondi before voicing his reasoning about his worries.

“I am saying this because the PSL has fixtured us to play Moroka Swallows in the league on the Wednesday before we meet Al Ahly. We are now trying to push that Swallows’ game for an earlier day, like Monday, so that we have more time to prepare for Al Ahly.

“We have to prioritise playing in Africa. Al Ahly has for long been the best team in Africa and finished in the top four at the last world club championships.

“We also faced the same problem before we played the team from Reunion (Stade Tamponese) in the previous round as we had to play Ajax away the Wednesday prior to the weekend match. We then had to fly back the next day and travel to Rustenburg to play on a Saturday.

“I feel we have to get all the support from everyone in the country when we go and play in Africa. Only if we had the support and Africa is given the importance it deserves, then South African teams would make further progress,” says Gamondi.

The Argentine believes exposing players to the reality of African club football also benefits Bafana Bafana.

“The experience gained here by the players when they feature for their clubs is beneficial when these very same players are selected for Bafana who also have to compete in Africa.

“So I believe the authorities really have to encourage and support clubs in Africa for Bafana to also improve in Africa. Players have no option but to get used to the tough conditions on the continent and so, by regularly being there with clubs, they then compete better when they are with Bafana.

“The reality is that to be the best we have to compete in the African conditions which are never comparable to the luxury of South Africa.”

Gamondi knows the reality of Africa having worked in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Burkina and Ivory Coast in the past.