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‘I have seen nothing like that in 30 years’ – Kaizer Chiefs coach

Johannesburg (AFP) – Perennial CAF Champions League underachievers Kaizer Chiefs won a 2021 preliminary round tie at the weekend, but coach Gavin Hunt was furious at the way they eliminated Cameroonians PWD Bamenda.    

Chiefs wasted numerous scoring chances in Soweto and could only draw 0-0 with opponents who arrived in South Africa only on the morning of the match after visa complications.

“I have seen nothing like that in 30 years as a coach,” said Hunt, referring to woeful finishing after Chiefs qualified 1-0 on aggregate thanks to a late first-leg goal from defender Eric Mathoho.

Here, AFP Sport looks at five talking points from the preliminary round second legs in the elite African club competition.

Unhappy Hunt

Hunt has struggled since succeeding sacked German Ernst Middendorp during the close season with just three wins and six goals from 10 matches in domestic and African competitions.

The absence of injured leading scorer Samir Nurkovic from Serbia has not helped, nor has FIFA imposing a transfer ban until mid-2021 because Chiefs illegally bought a player from a club in Madagascar. 

Critics of Hunt say he still has the squad that was good enough to lead the South African Premiership for 28 of 30 rounds last season before faltering on the final day and finishing runners-up.

Tanzania celebrate

Rarely has a 0-0 home draw in the Champions League been celebrated so wildly as that achieved by Simba of Tanzania against Plateau United of Nigeria in Dar es Salaam.

It was the first time in six home-and-away qualifiers between clubs from the countries, beginning in 1975, that Tanzania came up trumps.

Simba advanced 1-0 on aggregate thanks to a 1-0 first leg victory in Nigeria through a goal from Zambian Clatous Chama.

Niger await Ahly

AS Sonidep of Niger will be the first club to tackle defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt this season after two 2-0 wins over Mogadishu City Club of Somalia took them to the last-32 stage for the first time.

Apart from facing virtually unknown opponents, record nine-time title-holders Ahly will not relish the average Niamey temperature of 33 degrees celsius (92 fahrenheit) when they play there in mid December. 

Sonidep are bankrolled by the Nigerien Petroleum Products Company and are appearing in the Champions League a third time after losing to Zesco United of Zambia and Mouloudia Alger in the last two editions.

Gor Mahia drama

Gor Mahia of Kenya left it late to defeat APR of Rwanda 3-1 in an east African derby and secure a last-32 showdown with CR Belouizdad of Algeria.

The Nairobi outfit, who trailed 2-1 after the first leg in Kigali, were rattled when APR equalised on 82 minutes of the return match to regain the lead on aggregate.

But Sydney Ochieng and Nicholas Kipkirui snatched late goals to achieve overall success for the only Kenyan club to win a CAF competition, the 1987 edition of the now defunct African Cup Winners Cup.

Covid walkovers

Asante Kotoko of Ghana were awarded a walkover after FC Nouadhibou of Mauritania refused to exclude two players who had tested positive for coronavirus from their matchday squad for the second leg in Accra.

Stade Malien of Mali also received a walkover when four of the 17 players from Guinean visitors Ashanti Siguiri tested positive, leaving them two short of the required number to fulfil a CAF fixture.

Mouloudia Alger of Algeria were another club to advance without playing a second leg as Buffles Borgou of Benin said no flights to Algiers were available.

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