Ethiopian flag bearers, Saint George, face a daunting task when they tackle Ugandan giants Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) in the return leg slated for Saturday, 17 March 2018 in Kampala. The two sides settled for a barren draw in the first leg last week in Addis Ababa.
A string of poor results in the domestic league coupled with a frustrating draw at home to KCCA has made the year 2018 rocky for the record Ethiopian champions. However, Saint George trainer Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto believes his charges have what it takes to progress to the group stages.
“We can find a lot of examples in the world of football as teams drawing at home and notching a victory away. What is important should be our focus on the game. The players and the whole team believe that we can sail through though it is a difficult match. KCCA at home is a very difficult team to play. Our preparations have been very strong,” the Portuguese said.
Vaz Pinto declared that the Horsemen will be deploying a different strategy for the return leg.
“In Kampala, we will for sure change some situations. Because the playing field is different, the team we are facing is different and the whole thing is different. We always work towards adapting to situations. We are going there to win the game.”
Saint George will be missing the service of star striker Salahdin Said. Said’s season has been blighted by recurring injuries limiting his influence to a bit-part role, a sad situation that has forced Vaz Pinto to look to Malian-import Amara Malle and Ame Mohammed.
“The important thing at this moment is to focus on the players we have at our disposal. Of course, Said is important to the team. But at the moment we have other strikers and our main focus is on them since they are the one available,” noted Vaz Pinto.
The Portuguese is hoping to lead Saint George to a successive group stage appearance at the expense of KCCA, and will be relying on the likes of goalkeeper Robert Odongkara, Ethiopian international Asechalew Tamene, new signing Malle and Burkinabe midfielder Abdulkerim Nikima to achieve that dream.
Saturday, 17 March 2018
KCCA (Uganda) vs Saint George (Ethiopia) (0-0)
Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland) vs Zanaco (Zambia) (2-1)
Williamsville (Cote d’Ivoire) vs Wydad (Morocco) (2-7)
CF Mounana (Gabon) vs Al Ahly (Egypt) (0-4)
MC Alger (Algeria) vs MFM (Nigeria) (1-2)
Generation Foot (Senegal) vs Horoya (Guinea) (1-2)
Township Rollers (Botswana) vs Young Africans (Tanzania) (2-1)
UD Songo (Mozambique) vs TP Mazembe (DR Congo) (0-4)
Bidvest (South Africa) vs Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) (0-1)
Sunday, 18 March 2018
ES Setif (Algeria) vs Aduana (Ghana) (1-0)
Esperance (Tunisia) vs Gor Mahia (Kenya) (0-0)
Plateau United (Nigeria) vs Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) (2-4)
El Hilal (Sudan) vs AS Togo (Togo) (0-2)
ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire) vs Zesco (Zambia) (1-0)
AS Vita (DR Congo) vs Difaa El Jadidi (Morocco) (0-1)
Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) vs Rayon Sport (Rwanda) (0-0)