Simba, Ahly face off; Chiefs get underway

Simba, Ahly face off; Chiefs get underway
Al Ahly players in huddle during the 2020/21 CAF Champions League

by Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Feb 23, 2021. 10:00

The CAF Champions League continues with seven midweek fixtures on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 February, headlined by Simba hosting reigning African kings Al Ahly and South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs getting their group stage underway.

Tanzania’s Simba defeated Ahly last time the teams met in February 2019 – one of the most famous moments in the history of Wekundu wa Msimbazi – but Red Devils manager Pitso Mosimane is keen on seeing his side continue their winning path after opening Group A with an emphatic 3-0 win over Al Merrikh last week. This match on Tuesday will also see 30,000 fans in attendance in Dar es Salaam due to Tanzania’s low Covid-19 numbers.

“The morale of the players is huge and everyone needs a victory so we will fight to get a good result in front of Al Ahly,” Simba defender Mohamed Hussein said.

On the same day, Kaizer Chiefs and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca will finally get their Group C campaigns underway after their scheduled Matchday 1 clash earlier this month was postponed due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Chiefs will be at home to Guinea’s Horoya (who are currently top of Group C), while Wydad have a tricky trip to Angola to face Petro de Luanda.

Tuesday also sees Al Merrikh and AS Vita in a key match in Omdurman, Senegal’s Teungueth will look to claim the scalp of Zamalek, and the late game is a mouth-watering North African derby between MC Alger and Esperance de Tunis which could go a long way in deciding who qualifies from Group D.

Wednesday’s lone game sees Al Hilal and TP Mazembe renew their rivalry. The teams have been relatively regular combatants in the premier continental competition this century, most notably in the semifinals of the 2009 edition when Mazembe won a thrilling tie 5-4 on aggregate.

They most recently clashed in the group stage of the 2015 Champions League, drawing 0-0 in Lubumbashi before Hilal claimed a 1-0 win in the return game in Omdurman.

“I am expecting a hard game but we are prepared to do our best. We know that it is going to be a very tough game but this is what you get at this stage of the competition,” said Hilal coach Zoran Manojlovic.

Matchday 2 will be rounded out on Sunday 28 February with CR Belouizdad hosting Mamelodi Sundowns on neutral territory in Tanzania, while the outstanding Matchday 1 Wydad v Chiefs clash will also be played on that day in Burkins Faso.

CAF Champions League midweek fixtures

Tuesday 23 February

15:00: Al Merrikh v AS Vita

15:00: Petro de Luanda v Wydad Casablanca

15:00: Simba v Al Ahly

18:00: Kaizer Chiefs v Horoya

18:00: Teungueth v Zamalek

21:00: MC Alger v Esperance de Tunis

Wednesday 23 February

15:00: Al Hilal v TP Mazembe

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