Friday, October 5, 2007

African Confederation Cup Semi-Finals

The African Champions League isn't the only game in town this weekend.

The African Confederations Cup gets ready to crown two finalists for their grand championship game this weekend, as well.

CS Sfaxien of Tunisia and El Merreikh of Sudan could clinch places in the big games this weekend.

In Group A, Sfaxien must beat Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in Pretoria to be certain of making the final.

Any other result would open the door for TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, provided they improve their away record and defeat Astres Douala in Cameroon.
Sfaxien enter the final-round group fixtures Saturday with a one-point advantage over twice African Champions winners Mazembe and a better head-to-head record.

Even though they're out of it, Sundowns will not lack incentive having suffered a humiliating four-goal loss in the Mediterranean town of Sfax not too long ago.

"We owe it to ourselves and to South Africa to avenge that embarrassing loss," vowed coach Gordon Igesund

Mazembe, the most successful Congolese club in Africa with three titles, will pin their hopes of success in the Atlantic city of Douala on national team striker Mputu Mabi, the leading Confederation Cup scorer with eight goals.

In Group B former Cup Winners Cup title holders Merreikh have a much simpler task than Sfaxien to qualify for the final as they need only avoid losing 5-0 away to Dolphin of Nigeria Sunday.

Merreikh, coached by German Otto Pfister, are three points clear of Dolphin and have a huge head-to-head advantage having triumphed 6-1 against the west Africans in Omdurman.

Pfister has no doubt his multi-national mix of stars are heading for the two-leg final in November.

"Merreikh and neighbors Al Hilal are the biggest organised football clubs in black Africa," he said.

"They have good infrastructure and organisation plus passionate supporters."

Ismaili of Egypt, who fired coach Taha Basri this week after a 4-4 draw with lowly Al Ittihad in the national championship, host Kwara United of Nigeria in the other fixture.

Thanks to the BBC for the info in this article. What would I do without you?