Africa will be stable for some attention on football this weekend as the 2017 CAF Champions League resumes with four quarterfinal, first leg matches spread across the continent.
The action hits the ground running on Saturday afternoon at Estadio do Ferroviario in Beira, Mozambique, where the host team Ferroviario will be looking to make the most of home advantage against Algerian giants USM Alger.
The Mozambican side did superbly to finish above the Sudanese pair of Al Merrikh and Al Hilal in the group stage, but they aspect of dealing with USM would be a daunting task to perform.
The most interesting tie of the quarterfinals pits eight-time champions Al Ahly up against Tunisian heavyweights Esperance, with their first leg set for the Borg El Arab Stadium outside of Alexandria on Saturday evening.
The Egyptians were ever so lucky to edge out Zanaco to the final qualifying berth in their group, but if care is not taken they may not be lucky again as they come up against a more experienced side of their level.
The current defending African champions Mamelodi Sundowns will continue their title defence when they host Wydad Casablanca at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane on Sunday afternoon.
Coach Pitso Mosimane and his charges will have to make do with a lengthy injury list as they look to improve on their home form (they didn’t win any of the three matches they hosted in the group stage) against a WAC side which not only topped their group but also secured the Moroccan top flight championship not long ago.
Finally, the weekend’s Champions League matches wrap up with Libya’s Al Ahly Tripoli hosting Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel at the Borg El Arab Stadium. Tripoli cannot host true ‘home’ matches due to the continuing political instability in their home country, but it hasn’t stopped them from becoming one of Africa’s toughest teams.
CAF Champions League quarterfinal fixtures
First leg matches, all times GMT
Saturday 16 September
Ferroviario Beira v USM Alger – 13 :00 PM
Al Ahly v Esperance Tunis – 17: 00 PM
Sunday 17 September
Mamelodi Sundowns v Wydad Casablanca – 13:00 PM
Al Ahly Tripoli v Etoile Sahel – 18 :00 PM