Caf Champions League
APR v EL Zamalek
Amr Zaky’s form at the on-going African Nations Cup has left APR coach Andia Mfutila with plenty to think about. The Egyptian and Zamalek striker scored a brace against pre-tournament favorites Ivory Coast on Thursday to keep the defending champions on course for their sixth CAN title.
Zaky who has scored four goals in the CAN tournament is an adaptable striker who can play behind a front two or as a main forward and considered a hot property at El Zamalek. APR is set to play Zamalek in the first round of the 2008 CAF Champions League.
“I never thought that Egypt would reach the finals of the 2008 CAN tournament but their team work and determination has impressed me”.
“APR will have a lot of work if they are to stop the in-form Zaky and his team-mates,” Mfutila emphasized. However, Mfutila has also said that there is no need to panic.
“The first leg will be at home so we shall use our home advantage”.
2006/07 Primus league champions, APR will try to break a sweat of making the second round stage of the Champions League after drawing the Egyptian champions, a club they met in second round of the 2004 Champions League.
In the 2004 preliminary round, APR’s win over Ansheba of Eritrea was not surprising but the result was an eye-opener with the military side winning 7-1 at home and 4-2 away under former coach Capt. Jean Marie Ntagwabira.
Next up was a much more formidable opposition in the form of El Zamalek, champions of Africa, and a record five times and packed with Egyptian stars well versed in the rigors of international football.
The military side led in Cairo before losing out narrowly 3-2 and then at home caused a major shock with three goals in 15 minutes en route to a stunning 4-1 triumph. The victory was sealed by Amavubi star and Belgium based midfielder, Jimmy Mulisa goal, ten minutes from full time.
APR who had several imported players like Mark Sirengo from Kenya, Hamdun Makoye from Tanzania as well as James Odoch and Francis Gonzaga didn’t go past the third round stage as they lost to Ivory Coast champions Africa Sports on 5-4 penalty shoot out after full time had ended in a one-all draw aggregate.
The winner between APR and Zamalek will face the winner between Tonnere FC and Africa Sports. In a related development, the Confederation of African football (CAF) has named Tanzania referees to officiate APR’s game against Zamalek.
They are centre referee Paschal Chiganga Mara and assistant referees John Longinal Kanyenye and Haji Makame respectively.