Africa’s club competitions, the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup, will get their quarterfinal rounds underway this coming weekend with eight first-leg matches across the continent.
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The Champions League takes centre stage on Saturday, starting in Dar Es Salaam where Tanzania’s Simba will welcome DR Congo giants TP Mazembe. ‘Wekundu wa Msimbazi’ were one of the surprise packages in the group stage, coming through a tough pool which included Al Ahly, AS Vita and JS Saoura, and they will need to once again rely on their home form against a ‘Ravens’ team looking to return to the pinnacle of the African game.
In Tshwane, South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns will look to finally get the better of Al Ahly. The teams met in the 2001 final as well as in the preliminary rounds of the 2007 edition, and the Egyptian heavyweights emerged victorious in both ties. The ‘Brazilians’ will fancy their chances of an upset, but the motivation to reach the final for a third successive time and claim a record-extending ninth African title will be strong for the ‘Red Devils’.
In Guinea, dark horses Horoya AC will look to punch above their weight when Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca head to Conakry, while title holders Esperance de Tunis – who were beaten by Raja Casablanca in the CAF Cup Super Cup last Friday evening – face another North African derby as they head to Algeria to face CS Constantine.
Sunday sees the Confederation Cup hold its first-leg, quarterfinal clashes. Kenya’s Gor Mahia will look to continue their impressive run when they welcome Morocco’s RS Berkane to Nairobi, while Zambian side Nkana face a similarly tough challenge for the visit to Kitwe of three-time Confed champions CS Sfaxien.
Perhaps the pick of the matches comes from the Olympic Stadium in Sousse, where four-time champions Etoile du Sahel welcome Sudanese giants Al Hilal, while the night game is a mouth-watering North African derby between Moroccan upstarts Hassania Agadir and Egypt’s Zamalek.
CAF Champions League fixtures, 5-6 April
All times CAT
Saturday 6 April
15:00: Simba SC v TP Mazembe – LIVE on SS9 & SelGo1
15:00: Mamelodi Sundowns v Al Ahly
18:00: Horoya v Wydad Casablanca
21:00: CS Constantine v Esperance de Tunis
CAF Confederation Cup fixtures, 7 April
All times CAT
Sunday 7 April
15:00: Gor Mahia v RS Berkane – LIVE on SS9 & SelGo2
15:00: Nkana v CS Sfaxien – LIVE on SS9 & SelGo1
18:00: Etoile du Sahel v Al Hilal
21:00: Hassania Agadir v Zamalek