Tuesday Dec 22, 2020. 10:00
CAF Confederation Cup champions RS Berkane will open the defence of their crown with a first round, first-leg clash against Mauritania’s Tevragh-Zeina in one of 16 matches held across the African continent this midweek.
RSB won their first continental crown by edging Pyramids FC in the 2019-20 final in October but that will count for nothing against a tough Tevragh team which took out Guinea’s AS Kaloum Star in the preliminary round.
Berkane were one of 13 teams given a bye through to this stage of the competition, with the likes of Etoile du Sahel, ES Setif, JS Kabylie and South African heavyweights Orlando Pirates also entering the competition this midweek.
Pirates have been in great form domestically, winning the MTN8 cup earlier this month, and they will be confident heading into their away clash against Angola’s Sagrada Esperanca.
“We have information about the team and we know what we have to do against them‚” said coach Josef Zinnbauer. “It is not going to be an easy game for us because away games are always difficult on the continent. The opponent is not so bad and they look good because I have watched them together with the other coaches when we were analysing them.”
Tuesday’s action is headlined by three North African derbies, as Egyptian sides Pyramids and Al Mokawloon are away to Libya’s Al Ittihad Tripoli and at home to Tunisia’s Etoile respectively, while US Monastir (Tunisia) tackle Al Ahly Tripoli (Libya).
Other intriguing clashes include the meetings of ASC Diaraf and San Pedro in a West African derby, an East African derby between AS Kigali and KCCA, Cameroon giants Coton Sport away to Green Eagles of Zambia and Bloemfontein Celtic hosting Rivers United of Nigeria.
“Against South Africa’s Bloemfontein Celtic, we are expecting a tougher game. We’re aware it is a team that is well known on the continent and they have been doing well. But we do not have enough information about the team’s recent form and it is difficult to really assess them,” said Rivers coach Stanley Eguma.
“For us at Rivers United, though, we see the clash as a big task and we know too well that in this competition the higher you go, the tougher the competition becomes. I also know Bloemfontein too have passed through a rigorous road for them to get to this stage.”
The return matches are scheduled for 5-6 January 2021. The 16 aggregate winners advance into the playoff round, where they will be joined by the 16 loses from the first round of the CAF Champions League.
CAF Confederation Cup fixtures, 22-23 December 2020
First round, first-leg matches
Tuesday 22 December
Al Amal Atbara v Salitas
US Monastir v Al Ahly Tripoli
NAPSA Stars v UD Songo
Sagrada Esperanca v Orlando Pirates
USGN v JS Kabylie
Al Ittihad Tripoli v Pyramids FC
Al Mokawloon v Etoile du Sahel
Wednesday 23 December
Tevragh-Zeina v RS Berkane
Renaissance v ES Setif
TAS Casablanca v ESAE
ASC Diaraf v FC San Pedro
Namungo v El Hilal El Obeid
AS Kigali v KCCA
Bravo do Marquis v DC Motema Pembe
Green Eagles v Coton Sport
Bloemfontein Celtic v Rivers United