Tanzanian challengers Young Africans and Simba made impressive debuts of the CAF Champions League season with convincing away wins on Saturday in the first leg of the preliminary round.
The young Africans beat South Sudanese side Zalan Rumbek 4-0 in a match away to Tanzania because their rivals lack an international standard stadium.
Simba, who reached the quarter-finals of Africa’s premier club competition two seasons ago, won 2-0 against Malawi’s Nyasa Big Bullets in Lilongwe.
Fiston Mayele of the Democratic Republic of Congo played for the Young Africans with a hat-trick in the second half and Feisal Salum was the other scorer.
Zambian Moses Phiri and Tanzanian John Bocco scored either side of half-time for Simba, whose Champions League form has been erratic in recent campaigns.
Simba have gone the furthest of any Tanzanian club in the annual competition, reaching the semi-finals in 1974 when the competition was called the African Cup of Champions Clubs.
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The Young Africans’ best performances also date back a long time as they qualified for the quarter-finals in 1969 and 1970.
Assuming both teams clinch the final 32 spots after the return matches next weekend, they will face winnable ties in October.
Simba would meet Red Arrows from Zambia or Primeiro Agosto from Angola, while the next ones for Young Africans would be Saint George from Ethiopia or Al Hilal from Sudan.
Primeiro established a potentially decisive advantage over the Arrows by winning 1-0 in Lusaka thanks to an early goal from Ambrozini Salvador.
Saint George and Hilal will meet in the Ethiopian town of Bahir Dar on Sunday, when 10 of the 25 first legs will be played.
Cape Town City shrugged off South Africa’s modest start to the season to win 2-0 at home to Congo Brazzaville’s AS Otoho.
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As Otoho made their sixth straight appearance in the prestigious African club competition, it was Cape Town’s first appearance in the Champions League.
The goals came eight minutes apart at the start of the second half through Taahir Goedeman and Mark van Heerden.
Plateau United, hoping to become only Nigeria’s second African champion after 2003 and 2004 winners Enyimba, drew 2-2 with Gabon’s Stade Mandji in Franceville.
While the Nigerians will be happy to have scored two away goals, they gave up the lead twice in an all-goals first half.
A 0-0 or 1-1 draw in the second leg in Abuja will be enough to book Plateau a round of 16 showdown against Tunisia’s four-time Champions League winners Esperance.