The African Champions League title-holders, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, survived a scare in Kampala on Saturday as they drew 1-1 at KCCA to progress to the group phase of this year’s competition.
Sundowns went to Uganda leading 2-1 from penultimate weekend’s home leg, with the Kampala City outfit buoyed by their away goal.
It was KCCA who went ahead in the second leg of the last-32 tie, leaving the defending champions stunned.
Geoffrey Sserunkuma, who had scored in all three of Kampala City’s African Champions League games during this campaign, netted again after half an hour to make it 1-0 on the day and 2-2 on aggregate.
Crucially, because of their away-goal, that strike also meant that if the score stayed that way, KCCA would oust the holders and advance to the last sixteen.
However, the hosts’ fairy-tale run came to an end ten minutes from time when substitute Anthony Laffor of Liberia smashed the ball into the net to equalise and give Sundowns a 3-2 aggregate lead.
That was how the match ended, with Laffor later revealing what his coach Pitso Mosimane had urged him to do before coming off the bench.
“I’m happy to have been trusted to make the difference,” Laffor said on Sundowns’ official twitter feed.
“The coach said to me that I must get in the box and fight,” the Liberian added.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Bakry Al Madina scored a hat-trick as Al Merrikh of Sudan trounced Rivers United of Nigeria 4-0 to snatch a group place.
Merrikh qualified 4-3 on aggregate after a dramatic recovery from a three-goal first leg loss last weekend in the last-32 tie.
Experienced Al Madina opened the scoring after eight minutes in Omdurman and completed his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time.
USM Alger of Algeria, the 2015 runners-up, secured a group slot despite playing 65 minutes with 10 men in a 1-0 defeat by Rail Kadiogo in Burkina Faso.
Amir Sayoud, who scored in a 2-0 first leg win by USM, was sent off after two yellow cards and Mohamed Kahan scored the Kadiogo goal on 53 minutes.
Hopes of a Madagascar club reaching the group stage for the first time were dashed when CNaPS Sport were held 1-1 by Coton Sport of Cameroon in Antananarivo.
Coton took a 1-0 first leg lead and doubled their overall advantage when Souleymanou Moussa struck on the hour mark.
Zanaco of Zambia were another team to progress, although they could only draw 0-0 with Young Africans of Tanzania in Lusaka.
The Zambians won on away goals after drawing 1-1 in Dar es Salaam a week ago.
Another nine second legs were decided yesterday.
Infantino Reveals How Nigeria Can Host FIFA Competitions
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino last Thursday, in Abuja, revealed how Nigeria can be made a destination for top Grade A football matches and FIFA competitions.
Infantino gave the insight when the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare took him on a tour of the renovated main bowl of the MoshoodAbiola National Stadium.
The FIFA boss, who was visibly happy with the re-grassed pitch at the stadium, said well-maintained stadia with good pitches were key to hosting grade A matches.
He said FIFA was ready to work more closely with Nigeria to develop the game and host more grade A matches in the country.
“We (FIFA) have to make sure when a country, when a government with the President, the minister and private persons are investing in football, in stadia, we work with them to give something back.
“It’s obvious that stadiums like this (MoshoodAbiola stadium) and others in Nigeria deserve the best quality games.
“They deserve top national team games, top club games and it’s not just about Nigerian football or African football, it’s about global football.
“We are working together to see what kind of new opportunities, competitions we can bring for men and women to fill this stadium and make the heart of the stadium beat for the fantastic spectacle that all of the Nigerian love, which is football,” he said.
Earlier, the minister said the Federal Government will continue to invest in sports development and facilities.
Tidesports source reports that the FIFA President, in the company of the minister, had earlier visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Statehouse, as part of his engagement.
Why NFF Must Offset Rohr’s Salaries, Bonuses – Aikhomogbe
Former Nigerian goal keeper, Andrew Aikhomogbe has called on the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to resolve every outstanding salaries and bonuses owed to the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr before the next World Cup qualifiers against Central Africa Republic (CAR).
Aikhomogbe made this known on the backdrop of the football body’s recent deal with Baba Ijebu.
Although the financial details of the deal was not disclosed, Aikhomogbe in an interview with Newsmen from his base in Cairo, Egypt, stated that the NFF should use this platform to offset Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“It’s a big delight to know that the Nigeria Football Federation have signed a deal with Baba Ijebu and this will serve as an opportunity for them to use part of the money to pay Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“There is no better time to motivate him than now before Nigeria’s next 2022 World Cup qualifiers against the Central Africa Republic (CAR) on October,” he said.
Enyimba Players Vow To Support Finidi
Enyimba FC Goalkeeper, John Noble has stated that the players of the People’s Elephants will be key to the success of the newly appointed coach of the team, Finidi George.
Finidi, signed a two-year deal with Enyimba and oversaw his first full training session with the team on Thursday after a cameo appearance on Wednesday.
Speaking in a chat with Tidesports source, Noble gave his assessment of the coach in his first session under the manager and believes the former Super Eagles winger has what it takes to lead the team to the next level.
He added that the Enyimba players will be the ones to hand Finidi George his success at the club.
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