CAF Confederation Cup holders Raja Casablanca facing elimination
Johannesburg (AFP) –
CAF Confederation Cup trophy-holders Raja Casablanca are facing elimination unless they win a tricky match in Congo Brazzaville and get help from fellow Moroccans Renaissance Berkane.
Raja have drawn four games and lost one in Group A, leaving them bottom of the table ahead of a final matchday clash with second-place AS Otoho Oyo in Owando Sunday.
But even if the Casablanca outfit triumph, they will not reach the quarter-finals unless already-qualified Berkane avoid defeat away to another Moroccan side, Hassania Agadir.
Raja are coached by Patrice Carteron, a Frenchman with wide experience of Africa who has battled to revive the team since succeeding sacked Spaniard Juan Carlos Garrido this year.
AFP Sport previews the final matchday in the second-tier African club competition with 13 clubs chasing six places in the March 20 quarter-finals draw.
Otoho are in pole position to accompany Berkane into the knockout phase despite winning only one of five matches in this section and scoring just three goals in 450 minutes.
The Congolese have five points, the same number as Hassania, but lead the Moroccans on the head-to-head rule having won 1-0 at home and lost 2-1 away in the matches between them.
After holding Raja to a goalless draw in north Africa, Otoho have cause for optimism, but an attack featuring Nigerien Mahamane Cisse needs to become sharper.
A Tunisian one-two seems on the cards with record three-time Confederation Cup winners CS Sfaxien already through and twice trophy-holders Etoile Sahel poised to join them.
If Etoile secure maximum points at home to Salitas FC, they will eliminate the Burkina Faso academy club and Enugu Rangers of Nigeria, who host Sfaxien.
After a winning start, Godwin Aguda-inspired Enugu have taken just two points from a possible 12 and their only chance of survival is to beat Sfaxien and hope Salitas defeat Etoile.
Zesco United of Zambia, the only club among the 16 in the group phase who are out of contention, could have a big say in which clubs progress from this group.
If a side boasting star strikers Lazarous Kambole and Kenyan Jesse Were avoid defeat at home to Asante Kotoko of Ghana, fellow Zambians Nkana and Al Hilal of Sudan qualify.
But if twice African champions Kotoko triumph, they would advance, leaving a Hilal team heavily reliant on Waleed Hamid for goals needing a home win over Nkana to also go through.
Only two points separate leaders Zamalek of Egypt from bottom club Gor Mahia of Kenya and both could qualify at the expense of NA Hussein Dey of Algeria and Petro Atletico of Angola.
Zamalek, a mix of Egyptian stars plus Tunisians Hamdi el Nagguez and Ferjani Sassi and Moroccans Hamid Ahaddad and Khalid Boutaib, need a point at Hussein to be sure of progressing.
Gor, a side coached by Turk Hassan Oktay who are strong at home and weak away, will advance with a victory over Petro in Nairobi no matter what happens in Algeria.
? 2019 AFP