CAF : ICE CREAM TEAM MELT WITS RESERVES IN CAF CUP
South African club Wits fielded a virtual reserve side in a CAF Confederation Cup last-32 first leg Saturday and were thrashed 3-0 at home by Azam of Tanzania.
Wits coach Gavin Hunt had promised to field his best available team in an effort to improve a poor record in the African equivalent of the Europa League. But stars like defender Thulani ‘Tyson’ Hlatshwayo, midfielder Elias ‘Domingues’ Pelembe and England-born striker James Keene either started on the bench or were left out.
Wits, who trail Mamelodi Sundowns by seven points in the Premiership with eight rounds left, have twice exited the Confederation Cup in the round-of-32 to seemingly weaker opponents.
The Johannesburg side fared even worse last year, surrendering a 3-0 first-leg lead and losing a penalty shootout against an amateur Swaziland team of policemen.
Salum broke the deadlock on 51 minutes at the 5,000-seat Bidvest Stadium with a long-range shot and Kapombe punished a careless back-pass to double the lead.
Bocco, hailed as a quality footballer by Hunt before the match, completed the rout on the hour mark with a wide-angle shot past Jethren Barr.
The clubs meet again next weekend in Tanzania with Azam on course to face star-studded Tunisian outfit Esperance in the next qualifying round.
Esperance triumphed 2-0 away to shock preliminary-round winners Renaissance of Chad through goals from Taha Yassine Khenissi and Ghailane Chaalali in N’Djamena.
The Tunis-based club have lifted every CAF trophy except the Confederation Cup, which replaced the African Cup Winners Cup and CAF Cup competitions 12 years ago.
Zanaco of Zambia were another team to win on the road, beating Harare City of Zimbabwe 2-1 in a Zambezi derby.
Aubrey Funga and Rodrick Kabwe scored for the vastly more experienced visitors before Tanaka Ruzvidzo snatched a consolation goal for African debutants City.
Villa of Uganda also have one foot in the next round after outclassing Zanzibari visitors JKU 4-0 in Kampala with two goals coming in each half.
Michael Ndera struck after nine minutes and Mike Serumaga increased the advantage as half-time loomed. Umar Kasumba and Godfrey Lwesibiwa were the other scorers.
Other first-leg winners included ENPPI and Misr Elmaqasah of Egypt, Kawkab Marrakech of Morocco, Mouloudia Oran of Algeria, Mounana of Gabon, Sagrada Esperanca of Angola and Stade Gabesien of Tunisia.