TP Mazembe of DR Congo, Al Ahly of Egypt, Swaziland’s Mbabane Swallows and Primeiro de Agosto of Angola, have qualified for the group stage of CAF Champions league.
Mazembe won their ticket on Saturday in Beira, Mozambique despite losing 0-3 to their hosts UD Songo. Mazembe proceeded to the group stage 4-3 on aggregate on the wings of a 4-0 from the first leg last week in Lubumbashi.
During the game, former Orlando Pirates striker Helder Pelembe scored a double with the other coming from Malawian international Frank Banda, but it was rather too little too late in the coastal town of Beira.
It took Pelembe just the opening minute to score as the hosts led 1-0 in the first-half. Banda added the second goal in the 49th minute before Pelembe completed his double 15 minutes to full time.
Songo fought for the fourth which could have kept the tie even, but Mazembe held to book passage into the group stage, but only by the skin of their teeth.
In Swaziland, champions Mbabane Swallows finished off visiting Zanaco of Zambia.
A Wonder Nhleko 18th minute strike did the damage as Swallows won 3-1 on aggregate, to reach the group stage of the CAF Champions League for the first time.
Zanaco had come into this second leg trailing from a 2-1 home defeat, searching for nothing less than a two goal winning margin to literally pull out a rabbit from the bag. All the resilience lasted just over a quarter of an hour as the veteran Nhleko increased the deficit.
Nhleko, affectionately known as ‘Samba Jive’, ejected the home fans, for literal celebratory jive which grew even better with each and every minute that passed on until the wildest at the sound of the final whistle as history was written by the Swazi side.
Swallows who last year became the first Swazi football outfit to qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup group stage, had carved another historic moment becoming the first local side to reach the prestigious CAF Champions League group stage.
Coach, Thabo Koki Vilakati paid tribute to his lads for the milestone.
“We really needed that goal to put the tie beyond our opponents’ reach and when it came we knew it was for us to lose. We would like to dedicate this to the nation that has been very supportive to our cause,” said Vilakati.
“It was a 50-50 affair and both teams played good football. We lost the ties at home where we didn’t play well,” said Zanaco coach Numba Mumamba.
Al Ahly of Egypt beat CF Mounana of Gabon 7-1 aggregate. Primeiro de Agosto of Angola edged out Bidvest of South Africa on penalties.
Other results being awaited:
Williamsville (Cote d’Ivoire) vs Wydad (Morocco) (2-7)
CF Mounana (Gabon) 1-3 Al Ahly (Egypt) (0-4)
MC Alger (Algeria) 6-0 vs MFM (Nigeria) (1-2)
Generation Foot (Senegal) vs Horoya (Guinea) (1-2)
Township Rollers (Botswana) vs Young Africans (Tanzania) (2-1)
UD Songo (Mozambique) 3-0 TP Mazembe (DR Congo) (0-4)
Bidvest (South Africa) 1-0 (2-3pen) Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) (0-1)
*The Qualifiers are in bold font
Matches on Sunday, 18 March 2018
ES Setif (Algeria) vs Aduana (Ghana) (1-0)
Esperance (Tunisia) vs Gor Mahia (Kenya) (0-0)
Plateau United (Nigeria) vs Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) (2-4)
El Hilal (Sudan) vs AS Togo (Togo) (0-2)
ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire) vs Zesco (Zambia) (1-0)
AS Vita (DR Congo) vs Difaa El Jadidi (Morocco) (0-1)
Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) vs Rayon Sport (Rwanda) (0-0)