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CAF Confederation Cup

CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals: Five things to know


Johannesburg (AFP) – Ghanaians Bernard Morrison and Richard Ofori could play pivotal roles when Simba of Tanzania host Orlando Pirates of South Africa on Sunday in a CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final first leg.  

A former Pirate, speedy Morrison is the leading Simba scorer this season in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League with three goals.

Pirates goalkeeper Ofori boasts three consecutive Confederation Cup clean sheets after replacing off-form Siyabonga Mpontshane and hopes to prevent his compatriot adding to his goal tally.

Here, AFP Sport highlights five things to know ahead of the first legs on Sunday, with the return matches to be played seven days later.

Opposing Simba

A 60,000 crowd will fill the Benjamin Mkapa national stadium in commercial capital Dar es Salaam to see Simba confront Pirates, but not all the Tanzanians there will be backing the home team.

Supporters of arch domestic rivals Young Africans plan to continue a tradition of cheering for the visiting club because they do not want Simba to succeed.

This strange practice is not confined to Tanzania — when V Club play at home in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fans of fierce Kinshasa rivals Daring Club Motema Pembe always back the visiting side.

Home perils

Losing a first leg at home potentially spells elimination in the last-eight phase of Confederation Cup with none of the six sides who have done so escaping overall defeat.

Only Zanaco of Zambia among the sextet won the return match, but the 1-0 victory over Pyramids in Egypt in 2020 was hollow following a 3-0 drubbing in Lusaka.

Al Nasr of Libya suffered the most humiliating home loss — 5-0 to Hassania Agadir of Morocco two seasons ago — in a match staged in Egypt because of violence in the oil-rich north African nation.

Wary Pirates

Pirates hope a second successive appearance in the Confederation Cup quarter-finals will turn out much better than the first last season.

After taking the lead through Vincent Pule at home to eventual title winners Raja Casablanca of Morocco, they were held 1-1 in Soweto.

If the first-leg outcome was disappointing, the return match proved disastrous for the Buccaneers, who crumbled 4-0 with all the goals coming within 36 minutes of the kick-off.

Libyan showdown

Two Libyan clubs have reached the Confederation Cup quarter-finals for the first time and the luck of the draw saw Al Ittihad and Al Ahly Tripoli paired, sparing both potentially long, costly flights. 

Although both teams are based in the capital, Tripoli, no stadium there meets international standards so the matches will be played in the second largest city, Benghazi, 650 kilometres (405 miles) to the east.

Libya is the only north African country not to have won a CAF club competition. Ahly reached the 1984 Cup Winners Cup final against their Egyptian namesakes, but strained political relations between the nations forced the Tripoli outfit to withdraw.   

Resurgent Mazembe

TP Mazembe of DR Congo, who face Pyramids with the first leg in Cairo, are chasing trophies again after several barren seasons as some stars grew old while others moved abroad to bolster monthly salaries.

The Ravens from southern mining city Lubumbashi, who won eight CAF titles between 2009 and 2017, are guided by French coach Franck Dumas and topped Group C after a 2-0 win over Egyptian visitors Al Masry.

If Dumas has a major concern it is the lack of a consistent scorer — Adam Nazli scored both goals against Masry and is the only squad member to net more than once in the eight matches of this campaign.  

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