Amakhosi managed to book a date with Al Ahly on the backdrop of a difficult season especially on the domestic front
Kaizer Chiefs forward Leonardo Castro has described how they managed to make history by reaching the Caf Champions League final for the first time ever despite a plethora of challenges they faced as a “huge achievement”.
The Soweto giants meet nine-time African champions and current title holders Al Ahly at Stade Mohamed V Stadium on July 17.
In a season Chiefs were forbidden from signing players by Fifa, endured long-term injuries to key players like Khama Billiat and Dumisani Zuma while also recording some Covid-19 cases in their camp, Amakhosi appeared to have punched above their weight by reaching the Champions League final.
Chiefs also defied what could have come as a psychological setback from struggling on the domestic front, to post positive results on the continent.
They are unbeaten at home in the Champions League and never conceded a goal at FNB Stadium.
“Being part of the team in this competition is good. The Champions League is a huge achievement for the team Kaizer Chiefs as well as for each and everyone; the players and technical staff because it is the first time we have reached this far in the competition,” Castro told Chiefs’ media.
“We are making things happen so it was not really easy. We faced so many things during the campaign like injuries, Covid-19, suspensions and the transfer ban. So we faced all these things and we are coming out of it.
“I am really proud of the team because coming this far is not that easy. All of us contributed to be where we are now, so the most important thing is we realised what Champions League means for the team, for the country and for the continent. We put all our efforts to get where we are now. Definitely, we want to put a star on the badge.”
Castro was instrumental in Chiefs’ continental campaign and most notable was his goal in the 1-0 away win at Primeiro Agosto which sent them into the group stage.
The Colombian was also on target in Chiefs’ 4-0 victory over Simba SC in the first leg of the quarter-finals.
“The goal in Angola was a tough game against a good away team. The goal was a counter-attack and my partner Khama Billiat did almost 70 percent of the job,” added Castro.
“I was positioned in the box to get it done. That goal took us into the group stage and we came step by step in that moment.
“About the Simba game, in that game I think we had a good performance and we capitalised on our chances. That’s what was very important to make such a big difference in terms of goals.”
Castro would be hoping to feature on July 17 after missing the 2016 final during his Mamelodi Sundowns days due to injury.