Match-fixing ban affecting Petro de Luanda in African Football League

Match-fixing ban affecting Petro de Luanda in African Football League

Faced with a mammoth task of overcoming a two-goal deficit against South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, Angolan giants Petro de Luanda’s troubles run much deeper.

Petro’s domestic problems are following them in this inaugural African Football League (AFL), with the two-year ban slapped on the club by the Angolan Football Federation (FAF) having seen them not play competitive football in five months.

Addressing the media on the eve of their quarter-final second leg against Sundowns scheduled for Loftus Stadium on Tuesday evening (19:00), Petro coach Alexandre Santos lifted the lid on how their corruption allegations are impacting his side.

"It will be difficult to understand what's really happened because we are the coach and players, and we are on the field, doing our jobs in training and our friendly games – a lot of friendly games," explained Santos.

"But we never know really what's happening in the top of the hierarchy of the football structure in Angola. We know it's very difficult – it's now the five months since the last game of the Girabola on 21 May, and we now don't have any games.

"And the justification of that is only some problems between some allegations of bribery and some kind of people or teams – we are in that situation, I suppose because we didn't help the federation so much, but bribery was not the problem.

"There's a lot of confusion, and now I think we might start – I don't know when, maybe next weekend – the Girabola."

READ: Sundowns secure first-leg victory in African Football League

But the coach, who plotted the downfall of Sundowns in the 2021/2022 CAF Champions League on an away goal rule, is refusing to use this current ban as an excuse for their 2-0 loss in Luanda this past week and is optimistic of overturning the scoreline in Tshwane.

"It's difficult to get more motivation in training without games because, at a high level, we cannot prepare a team without [competitive] games [and] we cannot improve the tactical systems," he added.

"We can't even see what is wrong in our training process, what is the best 11 or what is the best player in each position, because games are everything in football.

"But, I will never say that was the problem for our loss, we will try to show respect to Mamelodi, as Mamelodi respected us in the first leg – we saw that, and we have to try to do the same to them that they did a few days ago."

The winner of this quarter-final will face the winner between Al Ahly and Simba, who face off in Cairo this afternoon (16:00) with the aggregate score locked at 2-2 following last Friday’s clash in Dar es Salaam.