Sudanese champions, Al-Merreikh and Nkana FC of Zambia have daunting tasks in this weekend’s second leg matches of the preliminary round of the Orange CAF Champions League.
Both clubs suffered 0-2 losses, Merreikh at home to Kampala City Council (KCC) of Uganda whilst Nkana were humbled 2-0 by Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland in Mbabane; and have no option other than overturn the results to remain in the hunt in the premier continental club championship.
A denting record of failing to go past the prelims for the first time is staring in the face of Merreikh, who have been longing to make the group stage since 2009. ‘Al-Zaeem’ must cough out a phenomenal output against their Ugandan hosts, who go into the game with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg.
Despite the tall mountain awaiting them in Kampala, Merreikh coach Michel Kruger has refused to give up on their hopes, insisting his charges are capable of overturning the result.
“We still have a chance but we have to work harder. We were unlucky in the first leg and hope things get better in the return encounter. We will do our best to ensure qualification,” the German told Cafonline.com.
His KCC counterpart, George Nsimbe reckons that the tie is far from over, with a lone goal defeat against the same side at the same venue five years ago still fresh in their minds.
“We have not qualified yet. We played a good game in the first leg and are keen on repeating our performance. Merreikh is a good team and they will give us a good fight,” Nsimbe said.
In Kitwe, the second largest city in Zambia, Nkana will be hoping to mastermind one of the major comebacks in continental club football against unfancied Mbabane Swallows.
The ‘Red Devils’, losing finalists of the 1990 edition have their reputation to protect against the Swazis, and coach Masauso Mwale believes the dream is achievable.
“We just have to work on our errors. We are still in the game and it will be a different ball game on our own turf. We can make it happen,” Mwale was quoted by Zambia Post newspaper.
Elsewhere, former winners’ Asante Kotoko of Ghana and Nigeria’s Enyimba will be engaged in dicey trips to Moronvia and Lome to face Barrack Young Controllers of Liberia and Anges of Togo respectively.
Kotoko managed a 2-1 win in the first leg whilst Enyimba came from behind to record a 3-1 win, but the performance of their hosts in the previous game is enough a concern for the two clubs.
In the northern Nigeria city of Kano, champions Kano Pillars have been boosted by the availability of Shehu Abdulahi and Ezekiel Mba in their quest to overturn a 3-1 loss over AS Vita Club of DR Congo. The return of the duo is expected to serve a huge lift for Okey Emordi’s charges in keeping their continental dreams alive.
Five-time winners, Zamalek of Egypt will travel to Niamey to face AS Douanes of Niger with a 2-0 win from the first leg, whilst Diamond Stars of Sierra Leone will square Raja Athletic Club of Morocco in Freetown. The Moroccans won 6-0 in the previous clash.
Angolan duo, Kabuscorp and Primeiro de Agosto will be away to Cote d’Or of Seychelles in Victoria and Lioli of Lesotho in Maseru.
Gabonese champions, US Bitam, handled by former Cameroon midfielder Francois Omam-Biyik will be hoping to overturn a lone-goal deficit against Kenyan side, Gor Mahia, in the northern town of Bitam, whilst ASFA Yennenga of Burkina Faso squares Senegalese debutants, Diambars in Ouagadougou.
Foullah Edifice of Chad will be up against Ahli Benghazi in Ndjamena whilst Liga Muculmana of Mozambique will travel to Antananarivo to face Madagascan champions, CNaPS Sports.
The Modiko Keita Stadium in the Malian capital of Bamako will be boiling with local sides, Stade Malien and AS Real playing host to SC Praia Cruz of Sao Tome and Principe and AS FAR of Morocco. AS Real will play on Saturday, and Stade Malien 24-hours later.
Burundian champions, Flambeau de l’EST are eyeing a double over Congolese side, Diables Noirs in Bujumbura after a lone goal win in Brazzaville. AC Leopards of Congo will also travel to Kigali as guests of Rayon Sports of Rwanda.
Kaizer Chief of South Africa and Dynamos of Zimbabwe trek Windhoek and Gaborone with 3-0 wins from the first leg to face Black Africa of Namibia and Mochudi Center Chiefs of Botswana respectively.
Atlabara, the first South Sudanese club to compete in the premier continental club championship, will square former Ghana champions, Berekum Chelsea in Khartoum whilst Akonangui of Equatorial Guinea will sort things out with Astres Douala from neighbouring Cameroon in Malabo.
Zanzibar champions, KMKM will engage Dedebit of Ethiopia in Amaan, Komorozine of Comoros versus Young Africans of Tanzania in Moroni whilst Horoya lock horns with FC Nouadhibou of Mauritania in the Guinean capital, Conakry.
The winners will join holders Ahly, El Hilal (Sudan), Esperance (Tunisia), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) and Coton Sport (Cameroon) for the next round.
Saturday, 15 February 2014
Diamond Stars (Sierra Leone) vs Raja Club Athletic (Morocco) (0-6)
Flambeau de l’EST (Burundi) vs Diables Noirs (Congo) (1-0)
ASFA Yennenga (Burkina Faso) vs Diambars (Senegal) (0-1)
Komorozine (Comoros) vs Young Africans (Tanzania) (0-7)
Kampala City Council (Uganda) vs Al-Merreikh (Sudan) (2-0)
AS Real (Mali) vs AS FAR (Morocco) (2-2)
Black Africa (Namibia) vs Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa) (0-3)
Nkana (Zambia) vs Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland) (0-2)
Rayon Sport (Rwanda) vs AC Leopards (Congo) (0-0)
Sunday, 16 February 2014
Foullah Edifice (Chad) vs Ahli Benghazi (Libya) (0-4)
Horoya (Guinea) vs FC Nouadhibou (Mauritania) (1-1)
Stade Malien (Mali) vs SC Praia Cruz (Sao Tome & Principe) (2-3)
CNaPS Sport (Madagascar) vs Liga Muculmana (Mozambique) (0-1)
US Bitam (Gabon) vs Gor Mahia (Kenya) (0-1)
Cote d’Or (Seychelles) vs Kabuscorp (Angola) (1-5)
Lioli (Lesotho) vs Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) (0-2)
Kano Pillars (Nigeria) vs AS Vita Club (DR Congo) (1-3)
BYC (Liberia) vs Asante Kotoko (Ghana) (1-2)
Mochudi Chiefs (Botswana) vs Dynamos (Zimbabwe) (0-3)
Akonangui (E. Guinea) vs Astres Douala (Cameroon) (0-3)
Atlabara (South Sudan) vs B. Chelsea (Ghana) (0-2)
KMKM (Zanzibar) vs Dedebit (Ethiopia) (0-3)
Anges de Notse (Togo) vs Enyimba (Nigeria) (1-3)
AS Doaunes (Niger) vs Zamalek (Egypt) (0-2)
Confederation of African Football (CAF) News
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