COSAFA sides back in CAF club action this weekend

COSAFA’s representatives in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) club competitions are back in action over the weekend as they look to take another step towards trophy success in 2019.

Zimbabwean side FC Platinum travel to holders Esperance in the African Champions League on Friday, but will be greeted by empty stands as the Tunisian side serve the first of a two-match spectator ban at their Stade Olympique d’El Menzeh home.

The ban was placed on the side after their fans were found guilty of throwing objects onto the pitch and lighting flares in last season’s final against Al Ahly.

On the same evening South Africa’s Orlando Pirates host Horoya of Guinea, fresh from their 0-0 away draw against FC Platinum in Bulawayo last time out.

Horoya from Guinea will be a tough opponent after ending Mamelodi Sundowns’ hopes in the 2018 group stages, and Pirates will be well aware of how important picking up wins at home is in the Champions League.

Sundowns are also at home as they host 2017 champions Wydad Casablanca on Saturday evening, desperate for points after they lost 2-1 at Nigerian side Lobi Stars in their opening group game.

A number of COSAFA sides are also in action in the Confederation Cup, including Kaizer Chiefs from South Africa and Zambian side Zesco United, who meet for the second leg of their play-off tie.

Zesco hold the advantage after a 3-1 win at home, but Chiefs will know that a 2-0 victory will send them through on the away goals rule. That match is to be played on Saturday.

Another Zambian side, Nkana FC, take a 3-0 advantage to the second leg of their tie against FC De San Pedro, which will be played in the Ivory Coast on Sunday.

Lesotho side Bantu FC are also away at Nigerian outfit Rangers International, with that tie 2-1 in favour of the west Africans, and Namibian side African Stars are locked at 1-1 as they travel away to Morocco to face Raja Casablanca.