Chiefs‚ Pirates and Sundowns turn their attention to the continent
One down‚ three left standing and that is the way South Africa will hope it will stay as the weekend’s continental action gets underway with a real prospect of Mamelodi Sundowns‚ Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs all reaching the group stages.
Only Free State Stars‚ completely reluctant to advance due to financial constraints‚ exited in the preliminary round of the Caf Confederation Cup‚ travelling with just 14 players for the second leg as they were downed 1-0 on aggregate by Rwanda’s Mukura Victory Sports.
Mamelodi Sundowns‚ the 2016 Caf Champions League winners‚ breezed past Equatorial Guinea’s Leones Vegetarianos 7-1 on aggregate in the premier continental competition’s preliminary round.
Downs have a tougher assignment against Libya’s Al Ahli Benghazi‚ starting with Sunday’s first leg in Cairo in the first round‚ the penultimate level before the group stage of the 2018-19 Champions League.
Orlando Pirates‚ making their return to the Champions League after a five-year absence since losing in the 2013 final against Egyptian giants Al Ahly‚ meet Namibia’s African Stars at Orlando Stadium in Saturday evening’s first leg (kickoff 6pm).
The Buccaneers disposed of Light Stars of Seychelles 8-2 in the pervious round.
In the Confederation Cup‚ SA’s remaining team are Kaizer Chiefs‚ who host Madagascar’s ASSM Elgeco Plus at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday night (kickoff 8.15pm).
Amakhosi found it easy enough dispensing of Zanzibar’s Zimamoto in the Confed preliminary round 5-2 on aggregate.
However‚ a 2-1 away defeat against the amateurs was the final straw in head coach Giovanni Solinas’s nervy tenure‚ and he was fired on Friday.
New coach Ernst Middendorp has committed to a good run in the Confed‚ and Chiefs have said they will still be challenging to win it.
Continental football this weekend -
Caf Champions League
Orlando Pirates v African Stars (Orlando Stadium‚ 6pm)
Al Ahli Benghazi v Mamelodi Sundowns (Petro Sport Stadium‚ Cairo‚ 5pm)
Caf Confederation Cup
Kaizer Chiefs v ASSM Elgeco Plus (Moses Mabhida Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
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