Must-win tie for Ahly as they bid to lift Egyptian gloom

  Johannesburg, Monday

Al Ahly hope to lift some of the gloom hanging over Egyptian football by beating Botswana visitors Township Rollers on Tuesday in a must-win CAF Champions League game for the hosts.

Egypt were booed when they returned from the World Cup, having lost all three group games to Uruguay, hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia in their first appearance since 1990.

Record eight-time African champions Ahly supplied seven of the national squad, including two goalkeepers, Mohamed el Shenawy (pictured) and Sherif Ekramy.

Group A

Before a ball was kicked, Ahly and twice champions Esperance of Tunisia were hot favourites to qualify at the expense of Rollers and Kampala Capital City Authority of Uganda.

But the Cairo club, who have won a record 19 CAF titles, find themselves bottom of the table with only one point after two rounds, and they dare not slip up at home to Rollers.

Leaders Esperance will look to Tunisia World Cup striker Anice Badri for goals in a home fixture against KCCA that they should win.

Group B

Five-time champions TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo boast the only 100 percent group record among the 16 hopefuls for a $2.5 million (Sh250 million) first prize.

The Ben Malango-inspired outfit began by whipping Entente Setif 4-1 and another Algerian club, Mouloudia Alger, will be in Lubumbashi desperately wanting to avoid a similar fate.              -AFP

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