By Duncan Mlanjira
South African 🇿🇦 side Mamelodi Sundowns go into the second leg of the quarter-finals of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) CAF Champions League on a five-nil goal aggregate against giants and eight-time winners, Al Ahly FC of Egypt 🇪🇬 in Alexandria on Saturday, April 13.
While five-time TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo 🇹🇿 will be hosting Simba SC of Tanzania 🇹🇿 in Lubumbashi at 0-0 aggregate.
In the other quarterfinals, Wydad AC of Morocco 🇲🇦 will be up against Horoya AC from Guinea 🇬🇳 in Rabat going on 0-0 aggregate while at Rades in Tunisia 🇹🇳, Esperance Tunis will be hosting fellow North Africa side CS Constantine of Algeria 🇩🇿 at 3-2 aggregate.
At the beginning of the 16 team group stages in January, there were seven clubs from North Africa; two each from Tunisia 🇹🇳 (Esperance Tunis and Club Africain), two from Algeria 🇩🇿 (CS Constantine and JS Saoura), two from Egypt 🇪🇬 (Ismaily SC and Al Ahly SC) and one from Morocco 🇲🇦 (Wydad AC).
Now they are four remaining; Al Ahly SC 🇪🇬, Esperance Tunis 🇹🇳, Wydad AC 🇲🇦 and CS Constantine 🇩🇿.
Those who fell along the way were two from southern Africa — Orlando Pirates from South Africa 🇿🇦 and FC Platinum from Zimbabwe 🇿🇼.
West Africa had three — Lobi Stars from Nigeria 🇳🇬, ASEC Mimosas from Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮 and they remain with Horoya AC from Guinea.
Central Africa had two — TP Mazembe and AS Vita Club, both from DR Congo 🇨🇩 while East Africa is being represented by Simba SC of Tanzania 🇹🇿. Somba and TP Mazembe are still in contest in the quarterfinals.
Most of the teams have foreign-based players and most of them are from Ghana. Horoya AC 🇬🇳 has five Ghanaians — Sebe Baffour, Brefo Mensah, Hudu Yakubu, Godfred Asante and Patrick Razak.
Simba 🇹🇿 has three — Nicholas Gyan, James Kotei and Kwasi Asante while TP Mazembe 🇨🇩 has two — Najeeb Abbas and Nana Kwesi.
The South African team, Mamelodi Sundowns 🇿🇦 strengthened its sides with non-Africans foreigners — Jose Ali Meza 🇻🇪, Jeremy Brockie from Australia 🇳🇿, Gaston Sirino Rodriguez from Greece 🇺🇾 and Ricardo do Nascimento from Brazil 🇧🇷.
Horoya AC have the highest number of foreigners (15) from Ghana (5), Burkina Faso (3), Mali (3), Niger (1), Cameroon (1), Nigeria (1) and Senegal (1).
The 2018 CAF Champions League champions are Esperance 🇹🇳, who won the title after staging a dramatic second-leg fightback in the final to defeat record eight-time champions Al Ahly 🇪🇬 4-3 on aggregate last month.
It is yet to be seen if Al Ahly 🇪🇬 might turn the tables after going down 0-5 against Mamelodi Sundowns 🇿🇦 in the away first leg. They need to score 5 goals at home in Alexandria to pull the greatest upset of this tournament.
Al Ahly are desperate for a ninth title having consecutively lost in the last two final matches.