African Football

#CAFCL CAF Champions League Match Day 2 preview

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CAF Champions League enters Match Day 2 Tuesday and Wednesday with seven potentially enthralling fixtures lined-up for your enjoyment.

Six matches will be staged Tuesday across Africa with only one tie spilling over to Wednesday, a day reserved for the CAF Confederation Cup action.

A tie between Horoya AC of Guinea and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa was postponed to allow the latter to play Spanish giants Barcelona in a high profile friendly match on 16th May.

CAF moved the game to 22nd May after both teams agreed.

Five draws and three wins were recorded with a total of 17 goals celebrated in the opening day of the group stage.

The groups are therefore expected to start taking shape in the second round of matches.

KCCA Vs Al Ahly

In one of the highlight match-ups of the round, KCCA will play hosts to Egyptian giants Al Ahly in a Group A match at Nelson Mandela Stadium, Namboole, Kampala Tuesday.

The match will be of historical significance as it will be the first time a Champions League group match will be staged on Ugandan soil.

The two teams were winless in the previous round; Al Ahly were held at home 1-1 by Tunisia’s Esperance de Tunis while KCCA fell 1-0 away to group leaders Township Rollers of Botswana in Gaborone.

The tie is billed as David versus Goliath encounter as KCCA, who qualified for the group stage for the very first time, will be up against seasoned Ahly, who are record 8-times African Champions.

KCCA’s coach Mike Mutebi has declared intentions to go for a kill against the Red Devils.

“I have a group of players who are quite impressive. Fans should expect a very entertaining game. I do not care if we win 4-3,” Mutebi said.

The Mayor’s boys are locked in a ding dong fight for this season’s Ugandan Premier League title with Vipers SC and are at a risk of missing Champions League football next season as they are second behind the Venoms, but Mutebi offers that they will be fully focused on the Tuesday match.

“At the moment we are concentrating on Al Ahly. I do not want to look over my shoulder. We just need to do our job.”

Ahly, who are already champions of Egypt for a record 40th time played a friendly against Ajax of Netherlands last week in Dubai – winning 1-0.

The team has already arrived in Kampala and is expected to have a feel of the match day stadium today.

Esperance de Tunis Vs Township Rollers

In another Group A match Tuesday, newbies Township Rollers travel to Tunisia to face Esperance de Tunis at Stade Olympique 7th November, Rades with eyes fixed on making another history by winning two successive group matches.

The “Popa Popa” dismissed KCCA 1-0 in their opening match and another victory will take them an inch closer to making it out of the group, however, they will have to contend with a very experienced “Gold and Blood”, who are thirsty for a first win.

Esperance are two times African champions (1994, 2011) and four times runners-up  (1999, 2000, 2010, and 2012).

Having secured Tunisia’s League 1 crown for a record 28th time, the Tunis-based giants will be concentrating all their energies in the quest for another continental glory and securing a quarterfinal berth is key at this moment.

They will miss the services of dependable Tunisia international forward Yassine Khenissi who injured his muscle in a league match last week.

Lemponye Tshireletso, who netted the lone goal for Rollers against KCCA, and was named in the Match Day 1 top XI, will be a key man to watch out in the Popa Popa side.

Difaa Hassani El Jadida Vs TP Mazembe

TP Mazembe of DR Congo travel to Morocco for their second Group B outing against home-side Difaa Hassani El Jadida at Mohammed El Abdi Stadium, El Jadida Tuesday.

Mazembe, five times African champions, head into the tie buoyed by the emphatic 4-1 win against ES Satif of Algeria in their opener played at Stade TP Mazembe, Lubumbashi on 5th May.

El Jadida on the other hand picked a point away to another Algerian outfit Mouloudia Club D’Alger in a 1-1 draw in Algiers on the same day.

The team lost 3-1 to Hassania Agadir in the Botola Saturday. They are currently 5th in the log standings outside the Champions League bracket.

Mazembe’s coach Pamphile Mihayo has been doing his homework on his opponents.

“It remains a game in the Champions League and we must have clear goals to progress. I followed the last performances of our opponents and we will continue to work on our strengths and weaknesses,” Mihayo said.

In the other Group B encounter, Mouloudia Club D’Alger will play hosts to Difaa Hassani El Jadida in an all North African clash.

Wydad Casablanca Vs AS Togo Port de Lome

Defending Champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco will lock horns with another newbies AS Togo Port de Lome of Togo at Mohammed V Stadium, Casablanca in a Group C match Tuesday.

Wydad picked a point away to 2016 champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in a 1-1 draw in their opening group match at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Pretoria.

AS Togo Port on the other hand lost 2-1 to leaders Horoya AC of Guinea in their first ever Champions League group stage match.

A win for Wydad, who failed to defend their Botola title over the weekend, will see them ascend to the helm of the group with four points pending the outcome of the Horoya vs Sundowns fixture.

Wydad are currently third in the Tunisian League standings – outside Champions League bracket with one round to go after being held to a 1-1 draw by Olympic Safi Saturday.

Their surest ticket to Champions League football next season therefore lies in doing well in this year’s campaign.

Etoile Sportive du Sahel Vs Zesco United

In the only Wednesday match, Zambia’s Zesco United travel to Sousse, Tunisia to face Etoile du Sahel in a Group D fixture at Stade Olympique de Sousse.

But, before then debutants Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland will host Club Desportivo 1 de Agosto of Angola at Mavuso Stadium, Manzini, Swaziland Tuesday in the other group’s tie.

Swallows rallied to hold 2016 semifinalists Zesco to a 1-1 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Ndola in Match Day 1.

Etoile du Sahel versus Club Desportivo 1 de Agosto also ended in a 1-1 in Angola and hence throwing the group wide open.

Zesco’s Kenyan international defender David “Calabar” Owino is upbeat they can pick their first maximum points on the road.

“I think we learnt our mistakes and picked some positives; we are ready to make amends.

“I know it won’t be a walk in the park, a tough game it will be, but we are equal to the task. We have played teams from North Africa before and they also know what we can do so we are hoping for the best.”

Fixtures

Group A

15.5.2018      13H00 Kampala      KCCA (Uganda) vs Al Ahly (Egypt)

15.5.2018      19H00 Tunis            Esperance (Tunisia) vs Township Rollers (Botswana)

 

Group B

15.5.2018      19H00 El Jadida      Difaa El Jadidi (Morocco) vs TP Mazembe (DR Congo)

15.5.2018      19H00 Setif             ES Setif (Algeria) vs MC Alger (Algeria)

 

Group C

15.5.2018      19H00 Casablanca  Wydad (Morocco) vs AS Togo (Togo)

22.5.2018      16H00 Conakry                Horoya (Guinea) vs Sundowns (South Africa)

 

Group D

15.5.2018      13H00 Manzini                 Swallows (Swaziland) vs Primeiro de Agosto (Angola)

16.5.2018      19H00 Sousse                   Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) vs Zesco (Zambia)

 

*All times are in GMT

About Bonface Osano

African Football Writer contributing @Soka25east | Commentator; appeared on @MySoccerAfrica, @KweseSports, @ntvkenya, others | Keen follower of African Football. E-mail: bonfaceosano@gmail.com

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