CAF : Its all systems go for Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns
Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns will again lead another charge by South African clubs to rule the continent when the CAF Champions League preliminary rounds get underway this weekend.
Last year, champions Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns crashed out of the competition in the first round. ‘Amakhosi’, as the Chiefs are known by their fans, lost 1-0 at home and then 2-0 in the return leg to Raja Casablanca of Morocco, while Sundowns exited the annual tournament after they failed to defend a 1-0 home win at eventual champions TP Mazembe, who won 3-1 in front of their fans to advance.
Both clubs play away from home this weekend, but they are expected to go past their weekend opponents, Zimbabwe’s Chicken Inn and Volcan Club of Comoros Island.
The PSL season has reached the halfway mark, but the league in Zimbabwe has not yet started, while that in the Comoros began only last weekend. “The game against Sundowns is going to be one hell of a fixture that will require maximum concentration, seeing they are halfway through their season and we’re just coming out of pre-season,” Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas said ahead of the match in Bulawayo on Saturday.
Sundowns star midfielder Teko Modise said they will make the most of their chances in this year’s competition. “Yes we are ready for the CAF Champions League. We are professional footballers and it is our job to stay ready for all kinds of competition,” he said.
“We have to keep playing the way we do and capitalise on the chances that we get. It is always best to win at home and then finish what you started away. That will be the main strategy when playing the CAF (Champions League).”
Nigeria champions Enyimba, who won the Champions League twice, in 2003 and 2004, face a difficult trip to Uganda’s Vipers SC in Kampala on Friday.
‘The People’s Elephant’ clinched a record seventh Nigeria league title in November after they topped the 20-team championship for almost half of the season.
Coach Paul Aigbogun, who guided Warri Wolves to finish as runners-up last season, has teamed up with the Aba outfit and so too several of the country’s top league stars like goalkeeper Theofilus Afelokhai from Kano Pillars and
Kwara United midfielder Dare Ojo.
Uganda champions Vipers will be without star striker Farouk Miya, who has joined Belgian club Standard Liege, as well as first-choice goalkeeper Ismail Watenga and defender Shafiq Bakaki.
This will be the first time they will represent the country on the continent after they pulled out of the 2010 Champions League, citing financial constraints.
Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, Kenya’s Gor Mahia, Horoya from Guinea, Club Africain of Tunisia as well as Stade Malien of Mali are some of the notable clubs who will also be in Champions League action this weekend.
Source : CAF On Line