By Duncan Mlanjira
Simba FC from Tanzanian 🇹🇿 stunned Algerian 🇩🇿 giants JS Saoura 3-0 at home on Saturday to top Group D of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League match played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The East Africans scored through Emmanuel Okwi and a brace from Maddie Kagere.
Coming hot on the East Africans are another North African giants Al Ahly SC of Egypt 🇪🇬 who beat AS Vita Club from DR Congo 🇨🇩 2-0 with goals from Nasser Maher and Ali Maaloul.
Simba stand at the top with 3 points and +3 on goal aggregate while Al Ahly SC are second with +2 with AS Vita Club on third without a point and on -2 and JS Saoura on 4th with -3.
In Group A, Confederation of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) representatives, Mamelodi Sundowns from South Africa 🇿🇦 lost 1-2 to West Africans Lobi Stars from Nigeria 🇳🇬 while Wydad AC from Morocco 🇲🇦 beat ASEC Mimosas from Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮 3-0.
Wydad AC top the Group with 3 points and +3 on goal aggregate; Lobi Stars on second also with 3 points and +1, Mamelodi Sundowns on third with -1 and ASEC Mimosas last with -3.
In Group B, Orlando Pirates from South Africa 🇿🇦 drew 0-0 with Zimbabwean 🇿🇼 side FC Platinum in an all-COSAFA encounter played at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo while defending champions Esperance Tunis from Tunisia 🇹🇳 also drew 0-0 with Horoya AC from Guinea 🇬🇳 for all to share 1 point at +0 aggregate.
TP Mazembe from DR Congo 🇨🇩 top Group C with three points and +2 aggregate after beating Egyptian 🇪🇬 side Ismaily SC 2-0 in Lubumbashi. CS Constantine from Algeria 🇩🇿 also have 3 points but at second place with +1 who beat Club Africain from Tunisia 🇹🇳 1-0.
In this year’s group stage campaign, North Africa dominates by having seven teams, two each from Tunisia 🇹🇳 (Esperance Tunis and Club Africain), Algeria 🇩🇿 (CS Constantine and JS Saoura), Egypt 🇪🇬 (Ismaily SC and Al Ahly SC) and one from Morocco 🇲🇦 (Wydad AC).
Southern Africa has three representatives — Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns from South Africa 🇿🇦 and FC Platinum from Zimbabwe 🇿🇼.
West Africa has three — Lobi Stars from Nigeria 🇳🇬, ASEC Mimosas from Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮 and Horoya AC from Guinea 🇬🇳.
Central Africa has two — TP Mazembe and AS Vita Club, both from DR Congo 🇨🇩 while East Africa is being represented by Simba SC of Tanzania 🇹🇿.
To win the 2018 CAF Champions League champions, Esperance staged a dramatic second-leg fightback in the final to defeat record eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt 4-3 on aggregate last month.
The champions were excused from 2018/2019 qualifying because they were representing Africa at the Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, where they finished fifth.
The 2017 champions were Wydad Casablanca and while Mamelodi Sundowns clinched it in 2016.
Al Ahly, who have lost the last two Champions League finals, are nine times champions while TP Mazembe claimed it five times, winning three of the last 10 Champions League final matches.