Defending CAF Confederation Cup champions RS Berkane will be among the major clubs seeking advancement into the playoff round of the competition when the first round is completed this midweek of Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 January 2021.
Berkane’s tie against Mauritanian side Tevragh-Zeina is delicately poised following a goalless stalemate in Nouakchott last month, but they will back themselves to claim a home win in the return game in Morocco on Wednesday evening.
South African heavyweights Orlando Pirates, meanwhile, have been handed a place in the next round following the late withdrawal of Angolan opponents Sagrada Esperanca. The Buccaneers won the first leg 1-0 away and will have the day off on Wednesday.
“It was a tough game for us, the weather was very hot and the field was not so good – there was long grass and a bouncy field, a little bit difficult to play the ball,” said Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer of the first leg, as he hopes to see his team recover from a narrow domestic loss to Mamelodi Sundowns in the domestic league this past weekend.
Nigeria’s Rivers United look very likely to eliminate Pirates’ compatriots Bloemfontein Celtic, as they boast a 2-0 lead ahead of the return in Port Harcourt, while Cameroon’s Coton Sport have the same advantage over Green Eagles of Zambia.
Uganda’s KCCA find themselves looking to overturn a 2-0 deficit when hosting Rwanda’s AS Kigali in an East African derby. Kampala were hit by a raft of Covid-19 infections and could not play in the first leg (with a 2-0 walkover awarded), but midfielder Keziron Kizito believes they have a good chance of a comeback in the tie.
“Everyone in the team is focussed. For the return leg, we have to work as a team and make sure we finish our chances in the game. The boys are in a positive mood and confident because with the work we have put in, we are confident we can get over the task and advance to the next level,” said Kizito.
The likes of JS Kabylie, DC Motema Pembe, Salitas and TAS Casablanca are all well placed to secure advancement, while Senegal’s ASC Diaraf will need to fight back from a 1-0 home loss if they are to avoid a surprise exit at the hands of Ivory Coast’s Sand Pedro, and a North African derby between Etoile du Sahel and Al Mokawloon is on a knife edge at 0-0 ahead of their return game.
The aggregate winners will advance into the playoff round, where they will be joined by the 16 losers from the first round of the Champions League.
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