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Football | CAF Confederations Cup

Nkana FC © Gallo Images

Zambians Nkana defend 56-match unbeaten CAF home record



Nkana FC of Zambia host Al Hilal of Sudan in the CAF Confederation Cup this Wednesday boosted by a record of never having lost at home in 56 African matches.

The 40 victories and 16 draws came in the CAF Champions League, Confederation Cup and two now defunct competitions, the African Cup Winners Cup and the CAF Cup.

Unfortunately, the magnificent home run has not led to any CAF titles for the Kitwe-based outfit, who came closest when losing the 1990 Champions League final on penalties.

Nkana need maximum points against Hilal to get back into contention for a top-two finish in Group C after losing their matchday 1 clash at fellow Zambians Zesco United.

"Our goal remains unchanged – we want to progress beyond the group stage," stressed Nkana coach and former star Beston Chambeshi. "One loss does not deter us."

AFP Sport previews the second series of group matches in the African equivalent of the Uefa Europa League.

Group A

Trophy-holders Raja Casablanca and fellow Moroccan side Renaissance Berkane can create three-point gaps above their rivals provided they use home advantage to secure victories.

Raja recently hired French coach Patrice Carteron and a side stacked with Moroccan internationals should be too strong for Congo Brazzaville visitors AS Otoho Oyo.

Berkane fired five goals past Senegalese Jaraaf in their previous home match and a repeat of that form with Togolese Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba leading the charge, should sink Agadir.

Group B

Record three-time Confederation Cup winners CS Sfaxien of Tunisia have home advantage over Enugu Rangers of Nigeria in the most attractive matchday 2 fixture.

It is the only match-up featuring clubs who won their group openers and Enugu will parade the most prolific Confederation Cup scorer this season, six-goal Godwin Aguda.

Sfaxien are coached by Ruud Krol, once a star defender who suffered the disappointment of being part of the Netherlands teams that lost the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals.

Group C

Nkana are not the only club seeking redemption in this section with once formidable Asante Kotoko of Ghana desperate to beat Zesco after losing away to Hilal.

The Ghanaians reached nine finals in various CAF competitions between 1967 and 2004 but, frustratingly, won just two of them.

"We believe we have what it takes to be one of the two qualifiers for the quarterfinals from this group," insists Kotoko coach and former Ghana captain CK Akonnor.

Group D

Gor Mahia of Kenya rattled nine-time CAF title winners Zamalek of Egypt in matchday 1 with a 4-2 victory in Nairobi set up by a brace from Rwandan sharpshooter Jacques Tuyisenge.

But the only Kenyan club to win an African competition – the 1987 Cup Winners Cup – have often flattered only to deceive and Petro Atletico of Angola in Luanda will be a big test.

A Zamalek team boosted by Tunisian pair Hamdi el Nagguez and Ferjani Sassi and Moroccan Khalid Boutaib need all three points when they host NA Hussein Dey of Algeria.



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