Places at stake in Confederation Cup group phase


African Confederation Cup trophy

Moroccan club Renaissance Berkane will hope their star striker Ayoub El Kaabi can get them out of trouble in their African Confederation Cup play-off second leg against Generation Foot of Senegal on Wednesday.

El Kaabi made headlines at the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) as he scored nine goals to help hosts Morocco win the title for locally-based players.

He is already the joint leading scorer in the Confederation Cup, having scored four goals in five matches.

Berkane hope he can add to that tally as they try to overcome a 3-1 first-leg deficit with a place in the group phase up for grabs.

El Kaabi was unknown outside Morocco before the CHAN but his record goals-haul earned him the best player award.

Ayoub El Kaabi scored a record nine goals during the CHAN tournament

He scored in the first leg of the Confederation Cup play-off in Dakar for Berkane before a 13-minute hat-trick from Amadou Dia Ndiaye swung the first leg in favour of the Senegalese academy side.

Raja Casablanca, the other Moroccan contenders in the second-tier African club competition, are much better off with a 2-0 lead and home advantage over Zanaco of Zambia.

Nigeria have four challengers – the most of any nation – but only two-time African champions Enyimba seem assured of being involved in the group draw this Saturday in Cairo.

They drew 1-1 in South Africa with Wits, whose coach Gavin Hunt has prioritised a domestic league fixture this Sunday over the African match.

“We will be leaving a lot of our top players in Johannesburg,” he said, which confirmed Enyimba as favourites to win in Calabar and reach the group stage for the first time.

The other three Nigerian hopefuls, Akwa United, Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) and Plateau United, face much tougher tasks.

Akwa host Al Hilal of Sudan in Uyo needing to overcome a 2-0 deficit, MFM trail Djoliba 1-0 ahead of a visit to Mali and Plateau take only a 2-1 lead over USM Alger to Algeria.

MFM coach Fidelis Ilechukwu believes his side can still make the 16-club mini-league phase.

“The Malians have an advantage, but anything can happen in football,’ he said, possibly mindful of the stunning European Champions League comeback by Roma against Barcelona last week.

There are four second legs on Tuesday and 12 on Wednesday with the overall winners then divided into four groups at the draw.

TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo are the Confederation Cup holders, but have qualified for the African Champions League group stage this year.

African Confederation Cup play-off second legs:

Tuesday:

Al Masry (Egypt) 1-1 Mounana (Gabon)

Belouizdad (Algeria) 0-1 ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)

La Mancha (Congo Brazzaville) 0-1 V Club (DR Congo)

USM Alger (Algeria) 1-2 Plateau Utd (Nigeria)

Wednesday:

Akwa Utd (Nigeria) 0-2 Al Hilal (Sudan)

Al Hilal El Obied (Sudan) 1-3 Songo (Mozambique)

CARA (Congo Brazzaville) 0-1 Saint George (Ethiopia)

Costa do Sol (Mozambique) 0-3 Rayon Sports (Rwanda)

Deportivo Niefang (Equatorial Guinea) 0-2 Williamsville (Ivory Coast)

Djoliba (Mali) 1-0 MFM (Nigeria)

Enyimba (Nigeria) 1-1 Wits (South Africa)

Fosa Juniors (Madagascar) 1-6 Aduana Stars (Ghana)

Raja Casablanca (Morocco) 2-0 Zanaco (Zambia)

Renaissance Berkane (Morocco) 1-3 Generation Foot (Senegal)

SuperSport Utd (South Africa) 0-1 Gor Mahia (Kenya)

Welayta Dicha (Ethiopia) 0-2 Young Africans (Tanzania)

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