Harare - Three teams from this region have made it into the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup while four fell by the wayside in the play-offs of the second tier continental club competition.
Southern Africa had hoped to see six of its teams making the pool phases but the bloc will have to content with the three which now carry the aspirations of a region still celebrating the Rugby World Cup triumph by South Africa last weekend.
Zambian giants Zanaco, which carries a Zimbabwean flair in both the technical and playing staff, were at their rampant best as they stoned hapless Cono Sport 8-2 on aggregate to nail their place in the money-spinning stage.
Zanaco are home to Zimbabwe Warriors star Tafadzwa Rusike while Thomson Matenda, who has had an illustrious fitness career for the Zimbabwe national team takes physical training issues for the glamorous club.
The team’s victory was particularly celebrated wildly by Zimbabweans who have an emotional attachment to the side.
In the same vein, South Africa’s Bidvest Wits crushed SADC colleagues UD Songo of Mozambique to secure their own passage.
After a hard fought 2-1 win in the first leg, the South Africans were ruthless in their own backyard, hitting their casual guests for six to wrap an 8-1 aggregate win.
DC Motema Pembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo didn’t have it any easier but they were still good enough to eliminate Kenya heavyweights Gor Mahia.
Motema Pembe had to dig deep to win the scintillating second leg 2-1 after the first instalment had ended 1-1.
However, there was no joy for Zimbabwean side Triangle who despite beating Mauritanian minnows FC Nouadhibou 3-2 at home crashed out on a 4-3 aggregate.
Green Eagles of Zambia also fell 3-2 on aggregate to Hassania Agadir while South Africa’s first division side TS Galaxy wouldn’t find a way past recuperating continental powerhouse Enyimba of Nigeria.
Galaxy had been handed a 0-2 defeat in Nigeria in the first leg and they never recovered as they were felled again at home to bow out on a 1-4 aggregate loss.
Triangle coach Taurai Mangwiro was disappointed but still had the heart to wish Southern African teams well in the competition.
“I am gutted, disappointed and I can’t really figure out how we ended up losing. Anyway, that is the game of football. Probably our lack of experience played a role in our exit,” said Mangwiro.
“But, we take solace to the fact that some of our colleagues in Southern Africa are still in the tournament. We are fully behind them and we will be rallying them to the last minute they play. Hopefully, one of them will be crowned champions at the end of the campaign.”
The draw for the group stages will be held on Sunday with Zanaco in Pot 2 while the pair of Bidvest Wits and DC Motema Pembe are in Pot 3.
DC Motema Pembe
FC San Pedro
ESAE or Generation Foot