Pirates through as Champions League and Confed Cup draws loom

It was a tough day in the office for the COSAFA sides competing in the final group stage matches of the CAF Confederation Cup, though one is through to the next stage and eagerly awaiting Friday’s quarterfinal draw.

South African side Orlando Pirates lost 1-0 at Nigeria’s Enyimba after conceding a goal in the fifth minute of injury-time at the end of the game.

Pirates still advance to the next stage though, while for Enyimba it was a defining moment as they leaped to the top of the pool. Without the win they would have finished third and gone out of the competition.

The Zambian dup of NAPSA Stars and Nkana FC were both in action as well, but slipped to a pair of defeats.

Stars lost 2-1 at Algerian side JS Kabylie, with Emmanuel Mayuka getting a late consolation for them. The club were already out of contention and finished bottom of their pool.

Nkana finished third in their group following a 2-0 loss at Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca, though they too had already been eliminated going into the final match.

Unseeded Pirates cannot be drawn against Enyimba in the next stage, so know they will face one of the other group winners – Raja, Kabylie or ASC Jaraaf. The latter might be the preferred opponent.

Meanwhile, the draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League will be made at the same time.

The South African duo of Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs are still in the mix and could yet meet in the quarterfinals.

If they don’t, Sundowns will get one of Egyptian giants Al Ahly, where former coach Pitso Mosimane is in charge, or Algerian side MC Alger.

If they avoid Sundowns, Chiefs could face Simba from Tanzania or Esperance of Tunisia.