Tanzanian giants set to advance in CAF Champions League

Combined photos of Simba and Yanga players celebrating after scoring goals in their CAF Champions League last-32 first-leg qualifiers on September 16, 2023. PHOTO | COURTESY

Johannesburg. Tanzanian giants Young Africans and Simba staked claims to CAF Champions League group places with impressive away performances in last-32 first-leg qualifiers on Saturday.

Kennedy Musonda and Cement Mzize scored as Young Africans triumphed 2-0 against Al Merrikh of Sudan, who had to host the match in Rwanda because of the ongoing war in their homeland.

Simba came from behind twice to draw 2-2 against Power Dynamos of Zambia in Ndola, with the second equaliser from Clatous Chama coming in added time.

In a clash of former champions, Hamza Jelassi netted to earn Etoile Sahel of Tunisia a 1-0 victory over FAR Rabat of Morocco in the Mediterranean resort of Sousse.

Mauritania are set to have a representative in the group stage for the first time after Nouadhibou built a surprise 3-0 lead over Real Bamako in Mali, where Sidi Amar scored twice.

Young Africans were runners-up to USM Alger of Algeria in the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup last season and are poised to book a first mini-league place following 11 failed attempts.

Zambian Musonda struck on 61 minutes in Kigali and Mzize doubled the lead 19 minutes later in front of several thousand Tanzanian supporters, who travelled in a 50 mini-bus convoy.

Tunisian coch Nasreddine Nabi quit the Dar es Salaam outfit after the Confederation Cup final, saying he wanted a fresh challenge, and was hired by Moroccan club FAR Rabat.

He was replaced by Miguel Gamondi, a 59-year-old Argentine who has coached in Libya, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates.

Simba, the arch domestic rivals of Young Africans, have reached the Champions League quarter-finals three times in the past five seasons.

Zambia-born Chama starred for the Tanzanian outfit against his compatriots, with his second-half goals cancelling leads given to Power Dynamos by Joshua Mutale and Cephas Mulombwa.

Jelassi struck midway through the second half for Etoile, who stunned Al Ahly of Egypt by winning the second leg of the 2007 final 3-1 n Cairo.

Etoile are the only club to have won all five current and past CAF competitions -- the Champions League, Confederation Cup, Super Cup and the now defunct African Cup Winners Cup and CAF Cup.

After seven failed efforts to get past the qualifying stage, Nouadhibou rattled Real Bamako with a first-half goal from Oumar Mangane followed by two after the break from Amar.