Big hitters headline CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals

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Photo: Enyimba FC
Photo: Enyimba FC

The last eight spots of the CAF Confederation Cup are now complete after Wednesday’s matches in Africa’s second tier club competition.

Among the quarter-finalists in this year’s Confederation Cup are three clubs that have won the premier club competition, the CAF Champions League in the past but now find themselves jostling for honours in the second tier of African club football.

Top on the list of clubs in the Confederation Cup quarter-finalists are Raja. The Moroccan club have won the Champions League thrice in 1989, 1997 and 1999 and finished as losing finalists in 2002. They have also won the CAF Cup (now Confederation Cup) once in 2003.

Nigeria’s most successful club Enyimba follows next in that exclusive club of big guns in the Confederation Cup. The People’s Elephant have won the Champions League twice, and back-to-back too in 2003 and 2004. The set of players till now are regarded as the golden generation of Nigerian club football in the modern era.

Kinshasa outfit, AS Vita Club, in the mix as well having won the Champions League in 1973 and reached the final in 2014 when they lost to ES Setif.

CARA like AS Vita Club last won an African title in 1974 when they beat Egyptian side Ghazl Al-Mehalla to win the Champions League, then known as African Cup of Champions Clubs.

However Algerian side USM Alger reached the Champions League final once in 2015 and suffered defeat to TP Mazembe in both legs (1-2 and 0-2).

The big casualties

The early exits of ASEC Mimosas and Sudan’s Al-Hilal Club from the group stage rank them as the big casualties though ASEC have lost their status as a force on the continent since their exploits of the 1990s when they won the Champions League once and the reached the semis four times in all CAF club competitions.

Since 2000, ASEC have managed to reach the last four of the Champions League twice in 2002 and 2006.

Al-Hilal are regarded as Sudan’s most successful club but are yet to win a title on the continent. They have only been Champions League finalists twice in 1987 and 1992 with five semi-final place. But on the continent, the Omdurman side are highly-rated by pundits and their failure leaves the north African nation without a single club in African club football this year.

Kenyan side Gor Mahia and 1987 winners of the African Cup Winners Cup were inching closer to a knockout stage berth but lost 1-2 to USM Alger in Algiers to end their dream of progressing against all odds.

So when the quarter-finals begin from September 14, only eight teams will vie for places in the last-four with the favourites being Raja and Enyimba to progress.

The quarter-finalists

Raja Casablanca
RS Berkane
Enyimba
USM Alger
AS Vita Club
Al-Masry
CARA Brazzaville
Rayon Sports

© The Predictor NG

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