CAF Champions League second round reverse fixture between Zambia’s Zesco United and Mali’s Stade Malien on Tuesday 19 will mark the first official midweek match of the prestigious Africa’s club championship.
More midweek matches for both the champions league and the confederations cup will be staged on Wednesday across the continent as CAF bows to pressure from a section of member federations who wanted weekends freed for domestic leagues and other competitions.
Apart from the last 16 second leg matches for both competitions this week, return matches in the confederations cup play-offs in May are also slated for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So are group stage matches in June.
Traditionally, the two competitions have been scheduled for weekends save for when extreme circumstances like bad weather or late arrival of teams force midweek fixtures.
This unlike in Europe where the UEFA champions league and Europa league have always been played on midweek dates with only finals moving to weekend.
Difficulties in air travel in Africa however remains a major challenge to the new development – more often clubs find it expensive and at times time consuming to fly across the continent as they have to use long routes to get to their destinations.
The Zesco vs Stade Malien tie will be played in Ndola from 3PM local time, and it remains to be seen if fans will get time off their busy schedules to come watch the match.
Zesco popularity known as “Team ya Ziko” are fancied to sail through after a 3-1 first leg win in Mali on April 9.
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