Historic CAF Champions League group spots for four clubs
Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP | KCCA of Uganda, Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland, Township Rollers of Botswana and Horoya of Guinea became the first clubs from their countries to reach the CAF Champions League group stage Saturday. A dramatic weekend ended with the shock exit of Egypt’s Zamalek.
Muzamiru Shaban scored two minutes into the second half to give KCCA a 1-0 home victory over Saint George of Ethiopia in a last-32 second leg and overall success by the same score.
Swallows also triumphed 1-0 on their ground, over Zanaco of Zambia, to advance 3-1 on aggregate with Wonder Nhleko scoring the lone second-leg goal.
Both KCCA and Swallows reached the group phase of the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup last season for the first time and have continued to improve.
Rollers were held 0-0 at home by Young Africans of Tanzania, but qualified 2-1 on aggregate having won by that scoreline in east Africa last week.
Botswana clubs have been perennial strugglers in both CAF club competitions, making the progress of Rollers all the more remarkable.
Horoya exceeded expectations by winning 2-0 away to Generation Foot of Senegal in a west African showdown having battled to succeed by a single goal at home.
A Daouda Camara penalty midway through the first half put Horoya ahead and a late goal assured the Conakry club of a place in the group draw next Wednesday.
Another three clubs, Gor Mahia of Kenya, Port of Togo and Rayon Sports of Rwanda, hope Sunday to become the first clubs from their nations to reach the mini-league stage.
Defending champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco were comfortable overall winners despite a 2-0 away loss to Williamsville of the Ivory Coast.
Goals late in each half from Romuald Kouassi and Kouame Diallo gave the Ivorians victory, but they faced a hopeless task after being trounced 7-2 in Morocco.
Record eight-time title-holders and 2017 runners-up Al Ahly of Egypt triumphed 3-1 away to Mounana of Gabon after taking a four-goal advantage to central Africa.
Mido Gaber, Moroccan Walid Azaro and Walid Soliman netted for the Cairo “Red Devils”, who clinched a 40th Egyptian title this week with six matches to spare.
TP Mazembe, the second most successful club in all CAF competitions behind Ahly, scraped through after a shock 3-0 hiding by Songo in Mozambique.
Leading 4-0 after the first leg, the multi-national outfit based in Lubumbashi fell behind in the first minute when Helder Pelembe scored.
An Issama Mpeko own-goal doubled the lead of newcomers Songo, who scored again through South African Rotshidzwa Muleka in stoppage time.
Primeiro Agosto reached the group stage for the first time since 1997 by edging Wits of South Africa 3-2 in a Johannesburg penalty shootout after both clubs won 1-0 at home.
Geraldo, who scored the first-leg winner, converted the decisive spot-kick, calmly stroking the ball into the net after Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet screamed at him.
Ethiopians stun mighty Zamalek in CAF Cup
Nine-time CAF title winners Zamalek of Egypt were shock casualties Sunday in the Confederation Cup round of 32, falling to an Ethiopian club they had derided.
African debutants Welayta Dicha lost the return match in Egypt 2-1 to leave the teams deadlocked at 3-3 on aggregate in the African equivalent of the Europa League.
But Ayman Hefny and Mahmoud Abdel Aziz failed to convert the fourth and fifth spot-kicks in the shootout while the visitors scored four in a row to win 4-3 on penalties.
“I am sure we will score a big victory in Egypt,” boasted recently hired Zamalek coch Ehab Galal after losing the first leg 2-1 in Ethiopia on what he called a “ploughed field”.
He was dismissive of CAF debutants Welayta after the first match, saying: “Our opponents are not a big team.”
Losing to Dicha marks one of the darkest days for Zamalek, a club who have been African champions five times and won the CAF Super Cup thrice and the African Cup Winners Cup once.
Although the equal third most successful club in CAF competitions, the Cairo “White Knights” have not won an African competition since lifting the 2003 Super Cup.
In recent years they have had a huge turnover of coaches, with former English Premier League manager Alex McLeish among the victims.
Goals just before and after half-time from Ahmed Madbouli gave Zamalek a two-goal second-leg lead and nudged them ahead on aggregate.
But Abdulsemed Ali Usman scored for Dicha on 52 minutes to level the overall score and, with no further goals, the tie went to a shootout.
Zamalek were the second big name from north Africa to be dumped this weekend after Club Africain of Tunisia lost 4-1 on aggregate to Renaissance Berkane of Morocco Saturday.
Club Africain have been African champions and reached the Confederation Cup semi-finals last year before surprisingly losing to SuperSport United of South Africa.
Tunisian clubs have won the Confederation Cup five times — more than any other country — but will not have any representative in the play-offs draw this Wednesday.
Last hope Ben Guerdene beat CARA of Congo Brazzaville 3-1 at home, but were eliminated having lost the first leg 3-0 in central Africa last week.
Patrick Loualoua and Khaled Yahia put the Tunisians two goals ahead with 33 minutes to play, but Racine Louamba pulled one back to leave the hosts needing to score at least three more.
They managed one through Chibeb Zoghlami, but CARA advanced and will be joined in the draw by compatriots La Mancha, who qualified Friday.
Cape Town City of South Africa lost 2-1 at home against Costa do Sol of Mozambique to make a shock departure on away goals having won the first leg.
Qualifiers for CAF Champions League groups draw in Cairo Wednesday:
Difaa el Jadida, Wydad Casablanca (both MAR), Entente Setif, Mouloudia Alger (both ALG), Esperance, Etoile Sahel (both TUN), Al Ahly (EGY), Horoya (GUI), Kampala Capital City Authority (UGA), Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA), Mbabane Swallows (SWZ), Port (TOG), Primeiro Agosto (ANG), Township Rollers (BOT), TP Mazembe (COD), Zesco Utd (ZAM)