FUS Rabat and Sfaxien battle for top spot
Modest Moroccan side FUS Rabat will host depleted CS Sfaxien of Tunisia this weekend in a clash which will determine who takes top spot in their CAF Confederation Cup Group B.
Both clubs are tied on ten points each after five matches with two-time Confederation Cup winners Sfaxien ahead by virtue of goal difference. The two teams have already reached the last four of this year's competition, but finishing top of the group will ensure a semi-final match-up against Group A runners-up, most likely Libya's Al Ittihad or Djoliba of Mali.
It has been a superb run for FUS Rabat in their debut appearance in this competition as they eliminated cup holders Stade Malien of Mali, SuperSport United from South Africa and Algeria's CR Belouizdad in this year's campaign. Sfaxien will be without at least six key players including Bergaoui Chaker, Brahima Toure and Kamel Zaiem, who are all suspended.
Coach Pierre Lechantre has insisted the absence of these players will allow the other squad members to stake a claim for first-team places. "We don't have indispensable players and I want the other players who have been waiting impatiently to show what they are capable of," said the former Cameroon coach, whose team won the first encounter in Tunisia 3-0 in August.
Ittihad, whose Egyptian coach Anwar Salaama has dumped them after two months to return to his home land as the new coach of struggling Gouna, have nine points, two points clear of third-placed Djoliba. The Libyan club, therefore, need to avoid defeat in front of their fans this weekend to reach the semi-finals of Africa's second club competition. The 16-time Libyan champions won the reverse fixture in Bamako 1-0.
Group A leaders Al Hilal may already have booked their place in the semi-finals, but will still be wary of home team ASFAN in Niamey. The Niger army team accounted for Al Hilal's bitter local rivals Al Merriekh in the qualifying rounds of the competition to become only the first club from Niger to feature in the group phase of the Confederation Cup.
ASFAN are bottom of the group with a point, but would most certainly be lifted for the game against the Sudanese giants after the country's team shocked champions Egypt in a 2012 CAF Cup of Nations qualifier at the same venue last weekend.
Egypt's Al Hadood welcome Zanaco of Zambia in a formality match in Group B. Hadood are bottom of the standings on two points, while Zanaco have five points. The two teams played out a 1-1 draw in Lusaka in August.