ESPERANCE AIM TO OVERTURN MAZEMBE IN CHAMPS LEAGUE
Esperance were thrashed in the first leg of the final but still have hope
Esperance still harbour hopes of winning the African Champions League, despite a 5-0 deficit to TP Mazembe going into the second leg of the final.
“We have not lost hope, because in football nothing is impossible,” the Tunisian side's Nigerian striker Michael Eneramo said.
The game will be played in Rades, near Tunis, on Saturday evening.
Mazembe, from DR Congo, are favourites to retain their continental title and qualify for the Fifa Club World Cup.
If Esperance are to overturn the odds, they will have to look to Eneramo, who has scored nine goals in the competition so far, and he is not short of confidence.
“Who says we cannot score five, six goals at home on Saturday? Team spirit is very high as we all have confidence in ourselves,” Eneramo said.
That confidence also seems to be retained by the team's fans, who have been very supportive, despite the disappointment of the heavy defeat in the first leg, according to Esperance coach Faouzi Benzarti.
“We have opened our training sessions before the match to the public and they were free to choose to come and support us or not – and they proved their loyalty by appearing at training and supporting us,” the coach said.
“We thank our fans for the support and the passion they have shown to the team and the players.”
But Benzarti was less confident than his supporters or playing staff, describing what his team needs to do on Saturday as “a miracle”.
But he did not rule out an extraordinary turn around in the tie.
“We'll play our regular plan and attack from the beginning but be more disciplined and cautious,” he said.
“Practically speaking, for me it's a miracle, but miracles happen and we have to do our best.”
The winners of the title will earn prize money of $1.5 million and will face Mexican outfit Pachuca on 12 December in the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.