Tricky duels for former Champs League winners


The four other winners, Al Ahly, JS Kabylie, Club Africain and ASEC Mimosas must overturn results from the first leg or bid farewell to the continent’s most prestigious club tournament.

Etoile, who lost 1-0 to Zimbabwean champions Dynamos in Gwanzura, face their toughest test yet since winning the championships last year.

The Tunisians must score at least two unanswered goals to progress, but will have to achieve that without influential player Mejdi Traoui, who is injured.

But their guests, Dynamos, who have had their side boosted by the return to training of strikers Desmond Maringwa and Brighton Tuwaya, may have to pull out of the competition at the 11th hour because of their country’s new currency laws.

The return of the duo is a great source of relief to the Warriors’ coach David Mandigora and his charges, who have employed a psychologist among other things in the buildup to the crucial clash.

“We are happy that Brighton and Desmond, who missed our last league game against Kiglon because of injuries, are back in training. Strikers Sebastian Mutizirwa and Lazarus Muhoni will also be available.”

In Cairo, five-time winners Al Ahly will also be involved in a dicey encounter as they host South Africa’s Platinum Stars, who caused a major upset with a 2-1 win in the first leg.

Despite their low profile status in continental club competition, Platinum Stars’ coach Miguel Gamondi remains optimistic of another upset this time at the Cairo International Stadium.

“It will be a big mistake to go there to defend,” said Gamondi, who has insisted that his side will play their normal game.

Ahly edged past another South African side, Mamelodi Sundowns at this same stage of the competition last year and are bent on replicating that feat.

In Morocco, Ivorian champions, ASEC Mimosas will be seeking to qualify for a record ninth appearance at the mini-league stage of the competition, but must surpass OC Khourigba to achieve that.

The 1998 champions managed a barren draw from the first leg in Abidjan but their ability to score in almost every away game, puts them in a better position to go through.

Tunisian side Club Africain have the tallest of mountains to climb this weekend as they must overturn a 5-1 deficit against Enyimba or bow out.

The fact that two-time winners Enyimba, have been in fantastic form this season makes the clash a dicey one for the Tunisians.

Fresh from their Algerian League championship feat, J.S. Kabylie face Coton Sport of Cameroon at Tizi Ouzou.

Fellow five-time winners, Zamalek trek Luanda as guests of GD Interclube after a 3-0 win from the first leg while T.P. Mazembe host last year’s semi-finalists Al-Ittihad of Libya in Kinshasa.

South African champions, Sundowns will seek their first ever appearance in the last eight of the CAF-MTN Champions League as they face another of last year’s semi-finalists, Al Hilal of Sudan.

The ‘Brazilians’ have never qualified for the lucrative stage of the competition but must overturn a 4-2 loss from the first leg in Khartoum to realise that dream.

The winners will qualify for the last round, which the eight teams will be drawn into two groups of four clubs each, while the losers will engage the winners of the 1/16th stage of the Confederation Cup for a place in the mini group phase of the $300,000 monetary prize competition.

The draw has been scheduled for May 17, in Yaoundé.

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