Rangers, Rivers Utd impress in Champions League
Enugu Rangers and Rivers United of Nigeria were among the happiest clubs after the first matches of the 2017 CAF Champions League at the weekend, even though neither won.
Rangers and United faced tough preliminary round away assignments at JS Saoura of Algeria and Real Bamako of Mali respectively, and both drew to leave themselves well placed to progress.
The return matches will be staged this weekend in Nigeria with places in the second and final qualifying round up for grabs.
Enugu came from behind to draw 1-1 with debutants Saoura in Bechar while Rivers forced a 0-0 stalemate with Real in Bamako.
Abderrahmane Bourdin scored direct from a free-kick on 32 minutes to put Saoura ahead and Bobby Clement levelled seven minutes later with a low shot into the corner.
Real dumped another Nigerian club, twice African champions Enyimba, out of the Champions League three seasons ago, making the achievement of United all the more praiseworthy.
No Ghanaian club has won the Champions League since 2000, and Wa All Stars have virtually no chance of bridging that gap after a 3-1 home loss to Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya.
Ahly did have an advantage in experience, competing regularly in Africa while Wa were making their debut, but the result was still a surprise with the Ghanaians expected to fare better.
Richard Arthur halved a two-goal Ahly lead by netting after 54 minutes only for Ali Muaid to close the scoring just past the hour mark.
The second leg is scheduled for Tunis because violence that followed the 2011 overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi prevents matches being staged in Libya.
Young Africans of Tanzania are even better placed than Ahly having crushed debutants Ngaya Mde of the Comoros 5-1 in Moroni.
Goals by Zambians Justine Zulu and Obrey Chirwa, Burundian Amissi Tambwe and Zimbabwean Thabani Kamusoko demonstrated the multi-national composition of the Dar es Salaam-based squad.
Who faces title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in the round of 32 remains in the balance after KCCA of Uganda took a 1-0 lead over Primeiro Agosto of Angola.
Geoffrey Sserunkuma, part of the Uganda squad at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, scored the early second-half winner in Kampala.
FC Johansen of Sierra Leone, a team part owned by Isha Johansen, the only female president of an African national football association, drew 1-1 with FUS Rabat of Morocco in Freetown.
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