Libyan stars fight for CAF Cup survival
13 February 2014, 19:10
Johannesburg - Al-Ahly Tripoli must fight for CAF Confederation Cup survival this weekend just two weeks after their stars helped Libya win the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
Goalkeeper Mohamed Abdaula, defender Ali Salama and midfielder Mohamed Elgadi were among five Ahly footballers who started in the Cape Town final victory over Ghana.
The trio were included in the CHAN team of the tournament and returned home to a heroes' welcome in a country unsettled by post-revolution instability.
But only seven days after helping Libya to their first African football title, national team captain Salama and his Ahly team-mates were held 1-1 by Malians CO Bamako .
Hampered by having to stage a 'home' fixture in neighbouring Tunisia because of security concerns, Ahly conceded a stoppage-time equaliser.
Striker Mohamed Ghanudi, another member of the CHAN-winning team, had put Tripoli ahead midway through the second half via a penalty.
The second leg of the preliminary qualifier is scheduled for Bamako, and the pendulum has swung toward the Malians with Ivory Coast outfit ASEC awaiting the winners.
African Stars, the first Namibian competitors in the second-tier CAF club competition, hold a 2-0 lead over Petro Atletico ahead of the return match in Angola.
A second-half brace by substitute midfielder Johannes Seibeb has raised hopes of a rare international club victory for the largely desert south-western country.
Stars coach Woody Jacobs accepts that vastly experienced CAF campaigners Petro are going to pose a much greater threat in Luanda.
"Petro will be out for revenge and the atmosphere will be hostile," he told reporters in Namibia capital Windhoek before flying to their northern neighbours.
"Critics say Stars are an 'old' team, but our experience is going to be a crucial factor. I am confident we will do Namibia proud."
Jacobs has enjoyed success over Angolan opposition, guiding previous club Civics to victory over Esperanca Sagrada in a 2006 CAF Champions League clash.
"I know Angolan football well," he said. "I watch clubs from there when they visit Namibia for pre-season training, and we also see some games on TV."
Kenyan outfit AFC Leopards are in a similar position to African Stars having built a 2-0 advantage over Ethiopian visitors Defence.
Midfielder Paul Were is the star Defence must fear in Addis Ababa after his wing wizardry set up first-half goals for Martin Imbalambala and Jacob Keli.
"The mood is positive and we should be okay," said Leopards coach James Nandwa. "The first-leg lesson is that we must close down the Ethiopians.
"They will punish us if we give them room to push the ball around and the high altitude is something we have to be wary of.
Addis Ababa, home of the African Union political body, lies 2,300 metres (7,546 feet) above sea level.