•CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: what to anticipate.
•We are at the home stretch of the prestigious CAF Champions League.
•Here, Sportsworldghana.com informs you what to expect in Week 4.
• Mamelodi Sundowns vs Al Ahly
It is a homecoming for Pitso Mosimane and Percy Tau. Pitso managed The Brazilians Bafana Bastyle for eight good years (2012-2020). He won 11 trophies for Downs; 5 DSTV Premier League titles, a champions league (2016), a CAF Super Cup (2017), 2 Nedbank Cups (14-15/19-20) and 2 Telkom Knockout (15,19). He is a real legend at Loftus Versfeld. He penned a two-year deal yesterday for the Red Devils, he is officially now the highest-paid manager on the continent. Will he celebrate it with a win against his former employees?
Percy Tau is another darling boy of Downs. Tau was part of the team that won Sundowns’ only CAF Champions League trophy in 2016. Al Ahly knows the venue they are visiting.
Do u remember this result? Mamelodi Sundowns 5-0 Al Ahly in 2019: Al Ahly’s worse defeat in the competition. Revenge will be on their mind but the task will be difficult. A tough and beautiful encounter is expected in Pretoria at Loftus Stadium.
• Al-Hilal Omdurman vs Al-Merreikh
Al-Za’eem vs Al-Zaeem (The Boss vs The Chief), who wins?
A cracker awaits in Sudan. The two Sudanese giants square off knowing very well that defeat will likely end a dream of qualifying for the next stage. Al-Hilal languishing in the bottom of the table will have no chance if they are beaten once again by their arch-rivals.
English manager Lee Clarke would be glad to do the double over Al-Hilal who has lost their last two games against Al-Merreikh. Al- Merreikh played very well in their 3-2 defeat against Al Ahly in Cairo and if they can replicate that performance, they will cause a lot of trouble for their rivals.
30-year-old Sudanese Elsamaani Saadeldin is a joint leading top scorer with 3 goals. Al-Za’eem must keep a close eye on him.
Joao Mota, Al-Hilal’s Brazillian manager can not afford to drop a point in this crucial fixture. Expect fireworks in Sudan.
• Horoya vs Raja Casablanca
3 defeats, O goals scored, 3 goals conceded, 0 points accrued- that is the story so far for Horoya.
3 goals scored, 0 goals conceded, 9 points won- this is the journey so far for Raja.
Two contrasting teams in Group B. First vs bottom. Horoya is the sole representative of WAFU, everything about Horoya is West Africa- Senegalese coach, the entire players are West Africans. Horoya narrowly lost the first leg in Casablanca by Mohsine Moutaouli’s 67th-minute strike. It will take a miracle for Horoya to make it to the next stage. A defeat at home will end their campaign.
Raja on the other hand needs a draw to secure a place in the knockout stage. Unbeaten in their last 10 games,
Green Eagles are in incredible form and have won their last 5 games by a goal margin. 63-year-old Rachid Taoussi will be on the bench for the first time for Raja in the Champions League after replacing Belgian Marc Wilmots. Raja will relish the opportunity to secure qualification early to fully focus on the Botola Pro where they trail arch-rivals Wydad by 3 points.
• ES Setif vs Amazulu
Amazulu manager, legendary Benni McCarthy, reports say he has fallen out with his players, per the Citizen. It is the reason why Amazulu has not performed domestically but are enjoying a good debut season in the CAF Champions League. Amazulu is second on the log and is playing against a team that will be a direct rival. ES Setif has not hit the ground running yet, after winning 1-0 at Horoya on matchday 1, they lost their next two games. L’ entente will play against a team that has lost all their last four away games. Any results other than victory will almost eliminate ES Setif
Etoile Sahel vs Esperance Tunis
The Tunisian Classico as this fixture is known is a huge game whenever and wherever these two giants meet. Esperance Tunis has the better head to head record against their rivals. A total of 178 matches has been played between the two:
69 wins for Esperance Tunis, 59 wins for Etoile Sahel and 50 drawn games. Etoile Sahel secured a crucial point away from home in this fixture, can they win the bragging rights? The home side has not tasted any defeat in their last 11 games but has won just 2 and drew 9. The group is wide open and whoever wins will take a step toward qualification.
CR Belouizdad vs Jwaneng Galaxy
Belouizdad will likely top Group C after matchday 4. They are aiming for double over the Botswana minnows, Khereidine Merzougui’s 93rd-minute winner secured a precious away win for Belouizdad. Jwaneng Galaxy has been punching above their weight in this competition and reaching the group stage was pure football heaven. Can they ,do the unthinkable?
Zamalek vs Wydad
Zamalek has secured back-to-back wins for the first time since 25th December 2021. Patrice Cameron won the Egyptian league title last season but has been so poor so far in the competition. Zamalek exited the group stage last season and cannot afford to miss out on the knockout stages. A 75-year-old Portuguese coach was appointed last week to replace Cateron. Jesualdo Ferreira is back again to where he won the Egyptian Premier league in 2014-15. Will he be the one that will save them from another early exit? Walid Regragui won the battle of tactics in the first round when they defeated Zamalek by 3-1 against Patrice Cateron. How will he fare against an experienced Jesualdo Ferreira?
It is a must-win for Zamalek.
Petro Atletico vs Sagrada
A win for Petro Atletico will spell doom for either Zamalek or Wydad. Petro Atletico is in a very good position to make history. Their Brazilian quartet of Wellington, Soares Willian, Gleison and Tiago Azulao have been incredible to them.
Sagrada lost at home 1-0 to Azulao’s 33rd-minute penalty and will not like it to lose two games in the same competition against their rivals. It is another derby that African football fans will enjoy.