Kenya Premier League (KPL) champions Tusker FC will this Saturday face of with Mauritius Champions AS Port-Louis in the knockout stages of Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) champions league while KPL runner up Ulinzi Stars will travel to Libya to face Hilal Benghazi in Confederation of Africa Football Cup in their preliminary round.
As Tusker will be handling Port-Louis on Saturday, the Kenyan soldiers will be on Friday battle out with Hilal on Friday before the return leg the following weekend.
The Tusker-Port Louis match, set to kick off at 3pm, has been scheduled for Saturday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Tusker, under Ugandan coach George Nsimbe, will be making a return to Africa’s elite club competition since 2013 where they were eliminated 4-1 on aggregate by Egyptian giants Al Ahly.
The brewers have engaged in a number of preseason friendly matches in the last six weeks, and have since relocated to the match-day venue for a residential training ahead of the high stakes clash.
An upbeat Tusker captain James Situma said they are targeting the elusive group stages berth.
Situma, who is back after an injury lay off, said they are confident of going past the first hurdle before they meet Sudanese giants Al Hilal in the next round.
“I have played at this level for some time now so to a certain extent, I know what to expect on Saturday. We will work together as a team so that we start on a positive note so as we reduce the pressure on ourselves when we head for the return match,” Situma said.
“The general plan is to avoid conceding at home and then to push hard for at least one goal away which I think is possible considering the quality of players in the team and their level of determination,” he said.
Tusker will however miss burly defender Eugene Asike, who partnered Situma in central defence for long spells in the 2016 season, as he has not been registered for the competition.
New signings Samuel Olwande, Abdul Hassan and Moses Ndawula are also out of the tie for a similar reason. The quartet are therefore ineligible to feature for the club in the preliminaries. Gate charges are Sh500 and Sh200 for VIP and terraces respectively.
Ulinzi Stars jetted out of the country on Tuesday and are confident they will gun down their opponents.
“We shall fight like soldiers on the battle front to make sure we return home with victory,” said Ulinzi coach Benjamin Nyangweso.
Ulinzi face Hilal Benghazi in their adopted home in Egypt due to the unstable state in Libya.
The soldiers played three build up matches before they left for Egypt. They beat Muhoroni Youth 2-1 before drawing 0-0 with Western Stima. Ulinzi then battled to a 2-2 draw with Tusker on Saturday in their final match.
South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns are the reigning Caf Champions League champions after beating Zamalek of Egypt in last year’s finals while TP Mazembe defeated MO Bejaia to win their first Caf Confederation Cup.
Added information-Daily Nation