The 2014 edition of CAF Orange Champions League gets underway this weekend (7-9 February) all across the African continent as the race to dethrone Al Ahly of Egypt begins. In Harare, Zimbabwe national champions Dynamos will have to hit the ground running as they prepare to play visitors from Botswana, Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the preliminary round, first leg tie at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday. Dynamos coach Calisto Pasuwa and seven of his players, Partson Jaure, Masimba Mambare, George Chigova Augusine Mbara, Themba Ndlovu, Tawanda Muparati and Oscar Machapa only arrived back home from national duty with the Zimbabwean Warriors side that finished fourth at the just ended Orange African Nations Championship finals in South Africa.
The Zimbabwean side will face a Mochudi Centre Chiefs side that played a goalless draw last Sunday against their arch rival Township Rollers. The Botswana local league is half-way into the season already while the Zimbabwean is yet to begin so Mochudi will be hoping to capitalize on this come Sunday. Dynamos and national team goalkeeper George Chigova told Cafonline.com while at CHAN finals that he and his team mates were eager to build on the good run at the third edition of CHAN, “There is hardly any time to rest and at the weekend our Champions League campaign starts. Those of us here from Dynamos including coach Pasuwa are determined to continue highlighting Zimbabwean football by doing well in the Champions League. It’s a great club competition and l can’t wait to get going and in Mochudi Centre Chiefs we face a tricky side but l am still hopeful we will pull through” said the giant goal-minder who left a lasting impression at CHAN with some fine goalkeeping skills.
South African giants Kaizer Chiefs will be making a welcome return to continental club competition with a home preliminary round first leg tie against Namibia’s Black Africa on Saturday. Chiefs last played in the CAF Champions League in 2005. AmaKhosi come into this weekend’s game on the back on nine straight wins in the league coach Stuart Baxter will be hoping that winning streak continues on the continental stage. The country is still reeling from a poor show by national team ( Bafana Bafana ) in the recent CHAN tournament on home soil, so Chiefs will be looking to lift up the mood of many and restore some of South African football’s pedigree in Africa.
Kaizer Chiefs won the 2001 CAF – Cup Winners Cup but have not packed as good a punch as is expected of a club of their magnitude in the premier continental club competition, Champions League. Chiefs’ arch rivals Orlando Pirates won the Champions League in 1995 and finished runners –up to Al Ahly of Egypt last year (2013). Nothing motivates Chiefs more than to outdo Pirates so the Black and Gold side will certainly aim to better the Buccaneers’ feat in last year’s Champions League. Meanwhile Black Africa come into the match having won the Namibian national league for the past three years and coach Brian Isaacs is relishing taking on their more prominent opponents.
Reigning Zambian national champions Nkana will also be making a welcome return to CAF club competition for first time since 2002. The Kitwe based outfit is in the Royal Swazi Kingdom to take on Mbabane Swallows in Manzini on Sunday in the Orange CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg match. Nkana head to Swaziland buoyed by some impressive wins in recent matches. Nkana triumphed 3-2 over DR Congo’s TP Mazembe in a friendly match in Lubumbashi before beating Zesco Utd 2-0 last Saturday in the semi-final of the Samuel Ndhlovu Charity Shield. Hosts Mbabane Swallows warmed up for the Nkana clash with a 4-1 win over Hellenic in the Swazi Bank Cup at the weekend and club captain Tony Tsabedze says Nkana will be in for a rude awakening come Sunday.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) News
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