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KCCA, Gor Mahia eye historic triumphs in CAF Champions League

KCCA’s young turks a step from big stage for club. PHOTO KCCA FC MEDIA

Lugogo, SATURDAY 4PM:  ?? KCCA FC vs St. George ??  (1st leg 0-0)

Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP |  Botswana, Kenya, Swaziland, Togo and Uganda could have representatives in the lucrative CAF Champions League group stage for the first time after the last-32 second legs this weekend.

Township Rollers of Botswana and Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland play at home holding 2-1 leads while Port of Togo travel with a 2-0 advantage.

KCCA of Uganda and Kenyan side Gor Mahia both drew 0-0 in the first legs with the Kampala outfit at home and the Nairobi club away in the return matches.

AFP Sport sets the scene as the five clubs seek places in the 16-club mini-league phase, where prize money of at least $550,000 (450,000 euros) kicks in.

KCCA
After coming tantalisingly close to making the last 16 a year ago, Kampala Capital City Authority are well-placed to go one step further after holding Saint George 0-0 in Ethiopia.

Kampala Capital City Authority FC has held fancied St.George of Ethiopia to a goalless draw on Wednedsay in the CAF Champions League.

The draw brought an end to successive away defeats on the continent the Kampala side in the past year, and puts them in a strong position to advance at home, where they have a perfect win record.

Ugandan coach Mike Mutebi has three wishes: “We must draw a capacity crowd to our stadium, play attractive football and win the match.”

Standing in KCCA’s way is an Ethiopian side that has always had high continental ambitions guided by Ugandan goalkeeper Robert Odongkara. The team are struggling to get back to their renown form after the arrival of a new coach, Portuguese Manuel Vaz Pinto. A result away in Kampala could announce their return to form.

St George players take a break after training at Lugogo.  PHOTO ST GEORGE MEDIA
Goalkeeper Odongkara

Gor Mahia
Malta-born coach Dylan Kerr is convinced Gor can create history despite being held 0-0 at home by two-time Champions League title-holders Esperance of Tunisia.

“I walked up to my players after the first leg and told them that if they perform as well in Tunisia, we will qualify for the group stage,” he said.

Swallows
Swallows last year became the first Swazi club to reach the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup group phase and more history beckons after shocking Zanaco 2-1 in Zambia.

But home advantage is no guarantee of success as they slumped 3-1 to Lesotho visitors Bantu in the preliminary round having established a 4-2 lead on the road.

Port
After surprising 2012 CAF Confederation Cup winners AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville last month, Port have a bigger scalp, twice Champions League runners-up Al Hilal of Sudan, in their sights.

Hilal are used to comeback victories, however, as they lost away to LISCR of Liberia last month only to bounce back with a Mohammed Bashir brace inspiring a 3-0 triumph.

Rollers
Botswana clubs have traditionally been CAF pushovers, making the achievements of Rollers in eliminating Al Merrikh of Sudan and defeating Young Africans in Tanzania remarkable.

Serb coach Nikola Kavazovic is highly ambitious and looking beyond a group place: “We are on our way to becoming a giant, if not in Africa, at least in southern Africa.

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