African giants lock horns in quarterfinal berths

WINDHOEK, MARCH 7 – Some of Africa’s heavyweight clubs will be chasing berths in the quarterfinals of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup, as the competitions’ group phases have Matchday 5 fixtures this weekend.

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The Champions League takes centre stage on Friday and Saturday, with the opening games seeing CS Constantine needing only to avoid defeat at home to Club African to secure progression from Group C, while TP Mazembe can also end the hopes of Ismaily (who have been ejected and re-instated in the premier competition) by avoiding defeat in an early evening game in Alexandria.

Friday’s night games come from Group B, with a Southern African derby between Orlando Pirates and already-eliminated FC Platinum of Zimbabwe in Soweto, while title holders Esperance de Tunis could potentially seal a quarterfinal place with a win at home to Horoya in Rades.

Saturday is a key time in Group A, with co-leaders Wydad Casablanca and Mamelodi Sundowns facing testing matches away to ASEC Mimosas in Abidjan and at home to Nigeria’s Lobi Stars. South Africa’s Sundowns will be itching for revenge against Stars after suffering a 2-1 defeat in Enugu back in January.

Group D sees just three points covering the four teams, with bottom-of-the-log AS Vita hoping to bring themselves right back into the mix by defeating leaders Al Ahly in Kinshasa, while JS Saoura host Tanzania’s Simba SC in Bechar and will be looking to avenge a Matchday 1 3-0 loss in Dar es Salaam.

Sunday features eight Matchday 5 clashes in the Confederation Cup and derbies are very much a running theme. An all-Moroccan battle between Raja Casablanca and Hassania Agadir could be key in deciding who joins likely Group A winners RS Berkane (who should seal a quarterfinal berth by beating AS Otoho at home).

In Group B, Etoile du Sahel and CS Sfaxien will have a Tunisian derby in which top spot is up for grabs, while West African sides Salitas (Burkina Faso) and Enugu Rangers (Nigeria) will have a regional clash in Ouagadougou.

Group C is headlined by a Zambian derby between Nkana and Zesco United in Kitwe, while Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko will fancy their chances of leapfrogging to the top of the standings with a home win over current leaders Al Hilal.

Finally, Group D sees Zamalek with the chance to avenge their shock defeat in Kenya on Matchday 1 when they host Gor Mahia in Alexandria, while Angola’s Petro Atletico will be looking to revive their quarterfinal hopes with a win at home to league leaders NA Hussein Dey of Algeria.

CAF Champions League fixtures, 8-9 March
All times CAT

Friday 8 March
18:00: CS Constantine v Club Africain
18:00: Ismaily v TP Mazembe
21:00: Esperance de Tunis v Horoya AC
21:00: Orlando Pirates v FC Platinum – LIVE on SS4 & SelGo2

Saturday 9 March
18:00: ASEC Mimosas v Wydad Casablanca
18:00: AS Vita v Al Ahly
21:00: Mamelodi Sundowns v Lobi Stars – LIVE on SS9 & SelGo1
21:00: JS Saoura v Simba SC – LIVE on SS10 & SelGo2

CAF Confederation Cup fixtures, 10 March
All times CAT

Sunday 10 March
15:00: Nkana v Zesco United – LIVE on SS9 & SelGo1
15:00: Asante Kotoko v Al Hilal – LIVE on SS4 & SelGo3
15:00: Petro Atletico v NA Hussein Dey – LIVE on Max360
18:00: Raja Casablanca v Hassania Agadir
18:00: CS Sfaxien v Etoile du Sahel
18:00: Salitas v Enugu Rangers – LIVE on SS9 & SelGo1
21:00: RS Berkane v AS Otoho
21:00: Zamalek v Gor Mahia – LIVE on SS9 & SelGo1 – MultiChoice Namibia