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Vipers keen to sting mighty Raja in CAF Champions League

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Uganda's Vipers line up before a past match
  • Vipers are playing the group stage for the first time ever
  • They play Raja in Morocco
  • Raja reached the quarters in last season’s edition

Ugandan champions Vipers SC will play their first ever match in the group stage of the Champions League on Friday night when they take on Morocco’s Raja Club Athletic in Casablanca.

Vipers are keen to land a win on their opening night and despite facing a tough side, they are keen to register good results.

“I told my players to just try to use the moment and the challenge ahead of us as an opportunity and take it and encourage everybody around to have the same mentality & the same energy,” said Vipers coach Roberto Bianchi.

The Brazilian just recently took charge of the team after his fellow countryman Roberto Oliveira left the team to join up with Simba SC.

The coach is keen to be off to a winning start.

“We have done a lot of work but we need everybody together and the spirit to be fair around here, the togetherness that we have around the team, it’s really strong, but we need to give our fans and probably the outside world something to talk about, and that’s only given with results, so we need to get that result,” he added.

Skipper Milton Karisa is also confident.

Pressure not on us

“The pressure is on them because they don’t know us but we know them. So, l don’t think we are under any kind of pressure. We are ready for tomorrow. Of course it’s our debut game in the group stages but we aren’t under any pressure.”

New coach Bianchi is still trying to find his footing in the team and they play this tie just a week after their Cup tie which they won, though on penalties against a lower tier side.

Locally, they are placed third in the Ugandan Premier League standings with 27 points, five behind leaders KCCA who have played a match more. They have lost two of their last five league matches.

Meanwhile in the early kick off, a feisty North African battle awaits with CR Belouizdad taking on Egyptian giants Zamalek in Cairo.

Zamalek did not make it past the group stage last season and are keen to make amends. Starting off with a win will be top of their agenda. Belouizdad reached the quarters last season and are keen to get off the groups again.

White Knights struggle on the continent 

The Egyptian White Knights have struggled over the last two seasons in continental football but after their tactful progression from the preliminary rounds, they are keen to continue the same form.

The Algerian side meanwhile are keen to build on what has been consistent performances over the last few seasons on the continent and the target once again this season is to get off the group stages.

Victory against Zamalek will be a massive statement of intent, especially noting they will be on enemy territory. They will look to rely on their strengths on quick counters to penetrate through what promises to be a tough Zamalek backline.

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