There is plenty at stake in the return legs of the second round of the CAF Champions League. In the short run, eight places in the group stage of the tournament are available, while the teams eliminated will fight on at the continental level in the CAF Confederations Cup. In the long run, the eventual winners of Africa's biggest club competition will claim a high-profile place at the FIFA World Club Cup Morocco 2014.
Match of the week
Kaizer Chiefs – AS Vita Club
With a budget that is matched by few clubs in Africa, Kaizer Chiefs' supportrs have been desperately hoping that their side could equal the achievement of cross-town rivals Orlando Pirates, who reached the final last season before falling to Al Ahly. However, the South African side will have to dig deep if they want to extend their interest in the competition beyond the weekend as a 3-0 defeat in the first leg left the DR Congo club in the drivers' seat. Coach Stuart Baxter is not ready to write off his team's chances though, saying: “With a two-legged game, we have only played the first half. If anyone thinks the tie is over they must think again. Football is a funny game.”
Potentially, five north African clubs can advance to the lucrative group stage of the competition. The clash between the two Al Ahlys (Cairo and Benghazi), ensures that at least one team from the Mediterranean will advance to the next round, with the defending champions from Egypt needing to overturn a 1-0 defeat from the away leg. Tunisian side CS Sfaxien, who secured the only away victory in the first leg (1-0), will start as favourites against Guinean club Horoya, while compatriots Esperance also have a slight advantage ahead of their clash against giant killers AS Real Bamako after the two-time champions drew 1-1 in Bamako. The Malian side knocked out Nigerian representatives Enyimba in the last round and are hoping to add another big scalp to their collection. Five-time champions Zamalek, meanwhile, also go into their return leg having drawn away from home against Zambian club FC Nkana.
1988 winners, ES Setif, Algeria's sole representatives left in the competition have to be on their guard as they travel to Cameroon outfit Coton Sport. The Algerians defend a 1-0 win from the home leg, but are facing an opponent who last year played in the semi-finals and are keen for a repeat performance. AC Leopards, who won the CAF Confederations Cup in 2012 and a year later nearly qualified for the semi-finals of the Champions League, will have their work cut out for them if they want to again advance to the group phase. The Congolese club drew 1-1 at home against Sudanese visitors Al Hilal, who are coached by Nasr Naby, who guided Leopards to continental glory in 2012. The final game sees four-time champions TP Mazembe at home against Sewe Sport, trying to overturn a 2-1 defeat from the first leg.
Player to watch
Cairo giants Al Ahly are chasing an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League title, but a slow start to the domestic season, a penalty shootout in the first round, and a 1-0 defeat in the first leg against Al Ahly Benghazi have left the side teetering. The goat of that loss after his mistake allowed the goal, veteran defender Wael Gomaa will be eager to help the side to the group stage in front of their home fans. The influential international defender has apparently recovered from a muscle injury that put his participation in the return leg in doubt.
4 - The number of consecutive seasons that champions Al Ahly and Tunisian club ES Esperance have been in the right-team group stage of the competition.
What they said
"Some of our players did not perform as I expected them to, but the away goal we scored was very important as it would have been difficult to overcome a 2-0 loss,” said TP Mazembe coach Patrice Carteron, whose side lost their first leg match 2-1 to Sewe Sport, who reached the group stage last year for the first time.
Have your say
Can Zambian side Nkana FC score a goal in Cairo against Zamalek to get the result they need to go beyond the second round of the competition for the first time in their history?