Horsemen draw while Dicha wins historic match
The first round African Champions League match between St. George and Ugandan club, KCCA, which was played at Addis Ababa Stadium on Wednesday 8, 2018, ended with a goalless draw. It was anticipated that it would be easier for the Horsemen given that they had demonstrated a promising performance in last year’s continental competition advancing to the group stage.
St. George reached the first round of the African Champions League competition after Al- Salam Wau of South Sudan forfeited the first leg match in Addis Ababa. Hence, the Horsemen directly proceeded to the first qualifying round and were tied against KCCA of Uganda. Before their encounter with the Horsemen, KCCA beat CNaps Sport of Madagascar in the any away goal rule after an aggregate result of 2-2. In the mid-week match, St. George was challenged by the visiting team at Addis Ababa Stadium. KCCA players were better in counterattack and in reaching to the goal.
St. George’s appeared to be shapeless in midfield and strikers could not get a chance to cross into the penalty box. Honestly, the Horsemen were inconsistent in the last 15 EPL fixtures. Many experienced Horsemen players were injured and the newly signed players are reporting to have not yet harmonized themselves with the existing team members.
Salahadin Said, St. George’s forward and one of the last year’s African Champions League top goal scorers who was injured ahead of this fixture, came in for the Horsemen in the second half, but could not change the result.
In the post-match press conference, St. George coach, Carlos Manuel, stated: “Our opponents have the quality of playing in counterattack because two three of their players in the front were very fast. It was difficult for our team because we had too much free space at the back,” he said.
He pointed out that they will be careful for the coming match and try to score in their away match.
Meanwhile, KCCA coach Mike Mutebi said that it will be difficult to easily win the second leg match.
“It is not going to be easy for us to beat St. George; however, we will be advantageous since we will be playing at home. So, we have to play carefully,” he said.
The return match is slated for March 17, 2018 in Star Times Stadium Lugogo. The return match is crucial for both sides as KCCA will be the first club from Uganda to progress to the CAF Champions’ League group stages while St. George will struggle to repeat its last years feat.
In another surprise fixture, the Southern Ethiopian club, Woliata Dicha, beat Egyptian giant Zamalek 2-1 in first round CAF Confederation Cup match on Wednesday March 7, 2018 at the Hawasa International Stadium. Bezabih Meleyo of Woliata broke the ice scoring the first goal on the 15th minute of the first half. After 20 minutes Emad Fatty of Zamalek scored the equalized on the 35th minute. However, Yared Dawit found the back of the net on the 73rd minute scoring the winning goal.
More than 50,000 football fans were in attendance at the Hawasa International Stadium. Woliata Dicha are the third Ethiopia club to beat Zamalek following Defense and Ethiopia Coffee. Woliata Dicha, Ethiopian Cup winner, advanced to the Total Confederation Cup first round after eliminating Zimamato of Zanzibar 2-1 on aggregate.
Dicha will play the return match on March 18, 2018 at the Cairo International Stadium. Zamlek FC won the largest number of African titles in addition to being the only club to have won the CAF Champions League cup four times facing three of its closest rivals.