Horoya coach Zvunka hails CAF Champions League progression

Horoya coach Victor Zvonka celebrates during his side's 2018 CAF Champions League match against Mamelodi Sundowns. Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Victor Zvunka hailed Horoya's qualification for the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League as the culmination of years of work and steady progress as the club from Conakry rekindled old glories on Tuesday night.

Horoya upset the odds to hold 2016 Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa to a goalless draw in Atteridgeville, on the outskirts of Pretoria, and finish above their hosts in the Group C standings.

They now await to see their next opponent but by finishing behind holders Wydad Casablanca in the group, will play either Al Ahly of Egypt, TP Mazembe Englebert from the Democratic Republic of Congo or Tunisia's Etoile Sahel over two legs in the last eight next month.

"Our objective was to get through the group phase but all coaches are competitive and even though I know that the draw will be tough, we will try to go as far as we can," Zvunka said.

Horoya were part of the force for Guinea football in pan-African competition in the 1970s and won the old African Cup Winners' Cup in 1978 but were in the dumps for decades after that, only to be revitalised in recent years.

Zvunka, now 66 years old and who played over 250 games for Olympique Marseille, has put together a multi-national squad and taken his side into three successive Champions League campaigns, with Tuesday night's draw the high point.

"I've been at the club for three years and we started slowly. Zesco (United of Zambia) eliminated us the first time and last year we lost to Esperance (Tunisia) but we dropped down to the African Confederation Cup and we were in the same group with Mazembe and SuperSport United, who you know got to the final.

"For us it's been all about progression. We've worked hard in the last three years. We are not a big club but I've had the same players with me for three years and they have really all progressed.

"It's been fascinating for me as a coach to work with them and to, hopefully, gain their confidence," added the veteran coach.

Horoya's revival has come on the back of the financial muscle of Antonio Souaré, managing director of Guinea's lottery company, Guinée Games.

"When I arrived, I discovered a quality squad, very attentive and demanding in terms of work," added Zvunka, who brought physical trainer Cédric Roger from France to assist him.

"They were the choice of the president, who has big ambitions at the African level."

Horoya were fortunate to hold out for a draw as Sundowns missed a myriad of chances but Zvunka said it had been deserved.

"When you go far in these kind of competitions, there is often an element of luck that you need to help you on your way."