It has been almost 20 years since Swazi football had something to celebrate in the CAF Champions League, but Young Buffaloes have given the small southern African kingdom reason to smile. Not since 1992, when Mbabane Highlanders ousted Botswana Defence Force, has a team from Swaziland made it past the first hurdle in the continent’s top club competition. Despite losing yesterday, the debutantes made it through to the next round of this year’s event.
Buffaloes progress will allow their Zambian coach George Chikokola a trip home to take on Zesco United, who also lost the second leg of their tie 2-1 at Mozambique’s Liga Muculmana yesterday but advanced 4-2 on aggregate. "They are a team like us, and we have no reason not to believe that we can win if we train hard for them," said Chikokola.
Young Buffaloes were just one of only 12 clubs to make it through on the pitch at the weekend as a further nine ties were postponed, while Raja Casablanca of Morocco received a bye when their Chadian opponents withdrew. The postponed matches are scheduled to go ahead in a fortnight after the completion of the CAF African Nations Championship in Sudan, where many players from leading clubs are competing for their countries.
One of the most noteworthy matches to come will be another Egypt-South Africa clash, which was set in motion with the qualification of SuperSport United. They lost 1-2 away to Matlama in neighbouring Lesotho in the second leg of their tie but advanced 3-2 on aggregate and now meet Al Ahly, winner of the most Champions League titles. The two-legged match-up between the champions of two of the continent’s economic superpowers will sandwich a key CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Bafana Bafana and the Pharaohs in Johannesburg on 26 March.
Simba roar, Motor Action speed through
There was progress for two former champions, Enyimba of Nigeria and Mouloudia Alger from Algeria, as well as success for first-time participants Recreativo Caala from Angola and the Zimbabwe champions Motor Action FC. Simba of Tanzania also booked themselves a high-profile second round meeting with two-time defending champions TP Mazembe Englebert of Congo DR.
Recreativo Caala lost 1-0 in Addis Ababa to St George of Ethiopia, coached by former Italian international Guiseppe Dossena, but they had a two-goal lead from the first leg. Motor Action looked headed out of the competition at their first attempt after losing at home to a last-minute goal in the first leg against Cnaps Sport of Madagascar. But they came back in Antananarivo yesterday to squeeze through as a goal from Kudakwashe Musharu some 14 minutes from time evened the aggregate scores and goalkeeper Malon Jani emerged the hero in the subsequent post-match shoot-out.
“We had prepared for this match over the past two weeks after our mistakes in the first leg. We were tactically organised at the back and we deserved to win this match. We now have to shift our attention to the next round and ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes,” said Joey Antipas, coach of Motor Action.
Tourbillon of Chad had no stomach for the fight after a 10-1 drubbing by Raja Casablanca in the first leg of their tie and withdrew, putting themselves at risk for the possibility of being banned from further competition by CAF.
First round, second leg results
Mouloudia Alger (Algeria) 2-0 Real Bangui (Central African Republic)
First leg: 1-1. Mouloudia Alger won 3-1 on aggregate.
ASFA Yennega (Burkina Faso) 3-0 Fello Stars Labe (Guinea)
First leg: 1-1. Yennega won 4-1 on aggregate.
Deportivo Mongomo (Equatorial Guinea) 1-1 ASPAC FC (Benin)
First leg: 0-1. ASPAC won 2-1 on aggregate.
Ports Authority (Gambia) 0-2 Diaraf Dakar (Senegal)
First leg: 1-1. Diaraf won 3-1 on aggregate.
Liga Muculmana (Mozambique) 2-1 Zesco United (Zambia)
First leg: 0-3. Zesco won 4-2 on aggregate.
Kano Pillars (Nigeria) 1-0 Mighty Barolle (Liberia)
First leg: 1-2. Pillars won on the away-goals rule after a 2-2 aggregate draw.
Simba SC (Tanzania) 4-2 Mitsoudje (Comoros Islands)
First leg: 0-0. Simba won 4-2 on aggregate.
St George (Ethiopia) 1-0 Recreativo Caala (Angola)
First leg: 0-2. Caala won 2-1 on aggregate.
Matlama (Lesotho) 2-1 SuperSport United (South Africa)
First leg: 0-2. SuperSport United won 3-2 on aggregate.
Cnaps Sport (Madagascar) 0-1 Motor Action (Zimbabwe)
First leg: 1-0. Motor Action won 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate draw.
Enyimba (Nigeria) 2-0 Saint Michel Ouenze (Congo)
First leg: 1-0; Enyimba won 3-0 on aggregate.
St Michel United (Seychelles) 2-1 Young Buffaloes (Swaziland)
First leg: 0-3. Young Buffaloes won 4-2 on aggregate.
InterClube (Angola) walkover over Township Rollers (Botswana), who withdrew
Raja Casablanca (Morocco) walkover over Tourbillon (Chad), who withdrew after losing first leg 10-1.
Astres Douala (Cameroon) v US Bitam (Gabon) postponed. First leg: 0-0
Coton Sport (Cameroon) v Vital’O (Burundi) postponed. First leg: 2-2
AS V Club (DR Congo) v Ocean View (Zanzibar) postponed. First leg: 1-1
Zamalek (Egypt) v Ulinzi (Kenya) postponed. First leg: 4-0
Aduana Stars (Ghana) v Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) postponed. First leg: 0-3
Jeunesse Club (Côte d’Ivoire) v ASFAN (Niger) postponed. First leg: 0-0
Djoliba (Mali) v East End Lions (Sierra Leone) postponed. First leg: 2-0
ASC SNIM (Mauritania) v ASEC Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) postponed. First leg: 0-7.
Club Africain (Tunisia) v APR FC (Rwanda) postponed. First leg: 2-2
Second round fixtures
Al Ittihad (Libya) v ASFAN (Niger) or Jeunesse Club (Côte d’Ivoire)
US Bitam (Gabon) or Astres Douala (Cameroon) v Enyimba (Nigeria)
Dynamos (Zimbabwe) v Mouloudia Alger (Algeria)
Al Merreikh (Sudan) v InterClube (Angola)
Diaraf Dakar (Senegal) v East End Lions (Sierra Leone) or Djoliba (Mali)
Esperance (Tunisia) v ASPAC FC (Benin)
Motor Action (Zimbabwe) v ASEC Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) or ASC SNIM (Mauritania)
Stade Malien (Mali) v Raja Casablanca (Morocco)
APR FC (Rwanda) or Club Africain (Tunisia) v Ulinzi (Kenya) or Zamalek (Egypt)
Al Hilal (Sudan) v Recreativo Caala (Angola)
TP Mazembe (DR Congo, holders) v Simba SC (Tanzania)
Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) or Aduana Stars (Ghana) v Kano Pillars (Nigeria)
Entente Setif (Algeria) v ASFA Yennega (Burkina Faso)
Ocean View (Zanzibar) or AS V Club (DR Congo) v Vital’O (Burundi) or Coton Sport (Cameroon)
Al Ahly (Egypt) v SuperSport United (South Africa)
Zesco United (Zambia) v Young Buffaloes (Swaziland)
Clubs mentioned first play at home in the first leg on the weekend of 18-20 March, while the return legs are on the weekend of 1-3 April.