Cash-strapped Bloemfontein Celtic have prioritised the DStv Premiership over Africa by sending reserves to the Democratic Republic of Congo for their CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round first leg this weekend.
Celtic will tackle Congolese league leaders AS Maniema Union in the remote central city of Kindu while the first team stay at home preparing for the MTN8 final against Orlando Pirates on December 12.
The South African knockout competition for the top eight finishers in the previous league season offers a winners-take-all prize of R8 million.
Clubs competing in the Confederation Cup – the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League – have to survive three two-leg qualifying rounds before prize money comes into play at the group stage.
Celtic finally found some league form with a narrow 1-0 win over Black Leopards on Wednesday.
The Bloemfontein outfit have had a mixed start to the season under Malawian coach John Maduka – excelling in the MTN8, but struggling in the league.
They shocked Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United to secure a final date with the Buccaneers, but took only one point from a possible 12 before edging Leopards.
They now find themselves in 14th place in the standings.
The first leg of the tie in Kindu will take place on Sunday at 15:00 SA time, with the return leg scheduled for Saturday, December 5 at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium at 15:30.