Caf Champions League preview: Club Africain, Simba seek redemption, FC Platinum and Saoura search for first wins

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After suffering heavy defeats in their last matches, Club Africain and Simba are out to restore lost pride against TP Mazembe and Al Ahly respectively

Ivorian goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo is back for TP Mazembe ahead of Tuesday’s Caf Champions League Group C tie away to Club Africain.

Gbohouo missed Mazembe’s last two games due to suspension but he is now back and was part of the travelling squad to Tunisia.

In his absence, Aime Bakula started in goal in the 3-0 away loss to Algerian champions CS Constantine while Malian goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro kept a clean sheet against Club Africain.

Bakula was sacrificed for the trip to Club Africain and Mounkoro will deputize Gbohouo.

Also back for TP Mazembe is forward Chico Ushindi who has recovered from injury while Malian midfielder Abdoulaye Sissoko is ruled out of the match through injury.

Having beaten Club Africain 8-0 in the last match, posting a historical group stage scoreline, Mazembe head in Tunisia high in confidence.

They could, however, be met by a wounded Club Africain side keen on revenge.

After their dignity was hurt by the 8-0 defeat to TP Mazembe, Club Africain are out to salvage their lost pride.

Club Africain, who are also reported to be facing a financial crisis, reshuffled their steering committee last weekend in a restructuring exercise to save the club both financially and technically.

But the Tunisians might, however, need some serious confidence booster, having also lost to Group C leaders Constantine at home.

Some of the club’s star players like Sanad Khemissi, France-born midfield duo of Wissem Ben Yahia and Manoubi Haddad as well as striker Ghazi Ayadi are expected to pick themselves up after a lackluster outing in the reverse fixture.

Also facing a predicament similar to Club Africain are Simba SC, who succumbed to identical 5-0 defeats to AS Vita and Al Ahly in their last two matches.

The Tanzanian giants host Al Ahly hoping for a turnaround in their fortunes.

After starting their Group D campaign on a high with a 3-0 win over Saoura at home, Simba went on to collapse by conceding 10 goals in their last two games.

Simba’s Rwandan midfielder Haruna Niyonzima is hoping their 3-0 victory over Mwadui in a league match last Thursday came at the right time to boost their morale ahead of the Al Ahly clash.

“Our victory against Mwadui on Thursday (in a league match) is a big boost for us, at least we see the opportunity to win Tuesday’s clash. The last two away games were tough but now we will play at home and many things will change,” Niyonzima told Cafonline .

“If we lose on Tuesday it means that we will lose our chance of qualifying to the quarterfinals. We are taking this seriously as players and we believe that we still have a chance to win.”

Al Ahly lead Group D and are yet to lose, only dropping two points in the 1-1 draw with Algerian side JS Saoura away.

Also in Group D, AS Vita visit Saoura in their bid to remain in the top two on the log.

Trailing leaders Al Ahly by three points, Vita are aware that a defeat in Algeria will see them dislodged from position two on the standings.

Vita centre-back Makwekwe Kupa and left-back Ernest Luzolo Sita did not train on Friday when the team arrived in Algeria due to sickness but the duo had recovered when the team flew to Bechar on Sunday.

With Vita and Saoura drawing 2-2 in the reverse fixture in Kinshasa, they still have a score to settle.

Group stage debutants Saoura are yet to taste victory in this group which they are bottom of.

In Conakry, Horoya welcome Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum who are the only team yet to collect three points in Group B.

The platinum miners lost to Horoya at home almost two weeks ago and now face a tall order to recover as their anchor the group.

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FC Platinum are making their debut in the Caf Champions League group stages and face a Horoya side that reached the quarter-finals last season.

"Horoya must build on the win in Zimbabwe to allow us to go as far as possible in this competition. We want to repeat the feat of last year,” Horoya managing director Amadou Bangoura told the club website .

Horoya are on the third position, with just a point behind second-placed Esperance whom they held 1-1 at home in their opening group game.

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