- Both Simba and Vipers lost their first match of the group stages
- They will be playing the second leg matches at home
- Al Ahly will also start their campaign this weekend
East African sides Simba and Vipers SC will be looking for redemption when they play the second round group matches of the CAF Champions League this weekend.
Simba started off their campaign with a loss away to Guinea’s Horoya while Ugandan champions Vipers SC were off to a horrible start in their group stage debut with a 5-0 drubbing away to Raja Club Athletic face Guinea’s Horoya in Kampala.
All four are in the same group.
Vipers SC skipper Milton Karisa says they have learnt their lessons from last weekend’s harsh loss in Morocco.
“We are very ready. We lost the first match and that sets the mark for us. Everybody is willing and ready to die a little for Vipers because we know how good we can be if we play to our potential,” Karisa told the club’s website.
He added; “I can declare that our Champions League campaign officially starts with this match. We are at home and we have to show how good we are. I am just calling on the fans to come out and back us.”
Coach Bianchi optimistic
Head Coach Beto Bianchi has also expressed optimism, asserting the team is in better shape, forgotten the past result and ready to compete.
“We should quickly forget the first match against Raja Casablanca, and must now focus on what lies ahead of us,”
“It doesn’t help us to keep thinking of what has already happened, because we still have five games to play in the group stages, so the focus should be on getting the best results possible,” said the coach.
Meanwhile in Dar es Salaam, Simba will also look to bounce back from the opening day loss, but will come up against the same side that hit Vipers for five; Raja.
But, they remain confident especially in playing at their own home turf. Tanzania’s president has promised the equivalent of Sh220,000 for every goal they score against the Moroccan giants.
“We know that Raja is a huge club, but Simba is also a huge club. We respect them but they will be coming to our home and when we play in our home, we always look to get the three points. I trust my players and I trust that we will make our fans happy,” said Simba’s coach Roberto Oliveira ahead of the tie.
Ahly kick off campaign for 11th title
Elsewhere, record African champions Al Ahly will start the campaign towards a record extending 11th TotalEnergies CAF Champions League crown this weekend, after the end of their FIFA Club World Cup campaign.
Ahly finished fourth in the global showpiece held in Morocco and will now switch their energies to reclaim the African title they lost to Wydad Athletic Club last season.
Ahly will start their campaign away from home taking on Sudanese giants Al Hilal in Khartoum and are keen for a positive kick off. They are playing Hilal for a second consecutive season in the group stages. Last season, they drew 0-0 in the first leg in Omdurman and won the return tie 1-0 in Cairo.
Hilal started their group phase hunt with a slim 1-0 loss away to Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend.
In other fixtures, Algeria’s CR Belouizdad will be the host of what is expected to be a mouth watering clash when they take on Tunisian giants Esperance. Both sides started their campaign with identical 1-0 wins, Esperance winning at home against Al Merrikh while Belouizdad clinched a vital victory on enemy territory in Egypt against Zamalek.