The CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup will wrap up their preliminary rounds this weekend, with most ties still in the balance heading into the return leg matches.
In the Champions League, the Nigerian duo of Akwa United and River United are well placed to advance, both enjoying 1-0 aggregate leads over CR Belouizdad and Young Africans respectively. Yet while Rivers will have home advantage this weekend, Akwa must head to Algeria for their return leg and coach Kennedy Boboye has admitted it will be a tough task to retain their slender lead.
“We will go there with a different formation. What we need is an attacker who can hold the ball. If we can’t score, let’s try to keep the one we have. We haven’t gotten the qualities needed upfront. If we play to instruction and the formation to be used, the team should perform well,” said the Akwa boss.
Elsewhere in the top-tier continental competition, Ghana’s Hearts of Oak will have a one-off home match against Guinea’s Kamsar (with the tie reduced due to the recent coup d’etat in the latter team’s country); Sudanese giants Al Hilal and Al Merrikh will need to make best use of home advantage to win their ties against East African opponents Fasil Kenema (2-2) and Express (1-2) respectively; and Algeria’s ES Setif must produce a storming performance to overturn a 3-0 deficit at home to Gambia’s Fortune.
In the Confederation Cup, another one-legged tie involving a team from Guinea has Nigeria’s second-tier Bayelsa United hosting Ashanti Golden Boys. Bayelsa goalkeeper John Shaibu has backed his side to perform strongly on their return to continental competition: “Football is all about time and opportunity. Nobody gave us a chance in the first place to win the Aiteo Cup, yet we achieve that by defeating a topflight team,” he explained.
“Now that we have this chance, we are looking forward to representing Nigeria well and we are not just going to make up the number of participating teams. We have already commenced preparations for our campaign and with our youthful squad, we can do a Leicester City.”
Elsewhere in the CAFCC, the all West African clash between San Pedro of the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso’s ASFA Yennenga is delicately poised at 0-0, while the likes of AS Police, Buffles du Borgou, Ethiopian Coffee, Young Buffaloes and Marumo Gallants will look to overturn deficits with home victories in the second legs of their ties.
The aggregate winners of each tie will advance into the second phase of qualification for the respective competitions, where they will be joined by the seeded teams which received a bye through the preliminary round. This second phase of qualification will take place on the weekends of 15-17 and 22-24 October.
CAF Champions League weekend fixtures
Preliminary round, second leg. Aggregate score in parenthesis.
Hearts of Oak v Kamsar* (Only one leg at the Accra Sports Stadium due to coup d’etat in Guinea)
ASKO Kara v LPRC Oilers (0-3)
Stade Malien v AS SONABEL (1-0)
Messager Ngozi v USGN (1-1)
Al Ittihad Tripoli v KMKM (2-0)
Tusker v Arta-Solar7 (1-1)
APR v Mogadishu City (0-0)
AS Maniema v AS Bouenguidi (1-1)
Nyasa Big Bullets v AmaZulu (1-0)
DFC 8eme v Jwaneng Galaxy (0-2)
Rivers United v Young Africans (1-0)
Al Hilal v Fasil Kenema (2-2)
ASEC Mimosas v Teungueth (1-0)
CR Belouizdad v Akwa United (0-1)
AS Otoho v UD Songo (0-1)
Petro de Luanda v Fovu Baham (2-2)
ES Setif v Fortune (0-3)
FC Platinum v Sagrada Esperanca (0-0)
ZESCO United v Royal Leopards (0-1)
Al Merrikh v Express (1-2)
Zanaco v Akonangui (2-0)
CAF Confederation Cup weekend fixtures
Preliminary round, second leg. Aggregate score in parenthesis. Times CAT
AS Police v US Ben Guerdane (1-3)
Buffles du Borgou v AS FAR (1-3)
Bayelsa United v Ashanti Golden Boys*
ASAC Concorde v ASC Kara (0-3)
Horseed v Azam (1-3)
Ethiopian Coffee v URA FC (1-2)
Al Ahly Merowe v Atlabara (2-0)
Marumo Gallants v Futuro Kings (1-2)
Orapa United v Mangasport (0-0)
Diables Noirs v Bumamuru (0-0)
Young Buffaloes v Red Arrows (1-2)
AS Kigali v Olympique Missiri (2-1)
MC Breweries v Binga (0-3)
San Pedro v ASFA Yennenga (0-0)
Biashara United v FC Dikhil (1-0)
Kabwe Warriors v CFFA (0-0)
Interclube v Mafunzo (1-0)