Malawian John Maduka has made life difficult for himself in the Caf Confederation Cup after his Bloemfontein Celtic went down 2-0 to Nigerian side Rivers United on Wednesday.
This leaves Celtic with a mountain to climb during the first round return match in Port Harcourt.
According to goal.com, late goals from Godwin Aguda and Fortune Omoniwari left Celtic with the daunting task of overturning the tables on January 6.
Maduka opted to rest his key players just like in the preliminary round home-and-away fixtures against Maniema Union of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Captain Ndumiso Mabena did not even make the bench together with Siphelele Luthuli, Menzi Masuku and forward Victor Letsoalo.
Sipho Chaine started in goal ahead of veteran goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane while Congolese forward Harris Tchilimbou was handed the captain’s armband.
After a goalless first half, Celtic responded with a double change by introducing attackers Sera Motebang and Reagan van der Ross for Menzi Ndwandwe and Ishmael Njoti, respectively, in the 69th minute.
Rivers then struck a minute later when Aguda thrust them ahead before Omoniwari scored with 10 minutes remaining.
Celtic made further changes five minutes from time when midfielders Shadrack Kobedi and Sello Matjila came on for Given Mashikinya and Tumelo Mangweni but this did not change the score line.
Football pundit George Kaudza Masina believes Celtic are lacking experience to compete with top clubs in Africa.
“Maduka lacks well experienced players to compete at this level. Rivers United is a big club in Nigeria with experienced players. Life will be tough for Celtic during the return match but I am sure they are learning. This will help them do better in the league,” Masina said.