Al Ahly hope to put their CAF Champions League exit behind them when they host Difaa El Jadida in the Confederation Cup play-off first leg.
The Egyptian outfit’s defence of Africa’s premier club competition came to an end last month when they were dumped out 4-2 on aggregate by Al Ahli Benghazi, a defeat which allowed them a consolatory place in the Confederation Cup.
Sunday sees them welcome Morocco’s Difaa, although they will have to manage without the backing of home support, after fans clashed with police at the CAF Super Cup against CS Sfaxien.
Despite their disappointing defeat in the Champions League, defender Wael Gomaa backed the team to respond.
“Ahly can recover quickly,” he told the Egyptian media. “The defeats by Benghazi are history, you win some football matches and lose others.”
Difaa also enter the game shrouded in controversy after club officials claimed “hidden hands” were out to hamper their season as their hectic fixture schedule begins to bite.
Winners of the Confederation Cup in 2006, Etoile du Sahel will hope to have similar joy when they travel to Guinea to take on Horoya in the opening leg of their tie.
Tunisia have provided at least one finalist in six of the past eight years, and Etoile’s compatriots Bizertin visit Zambia’s Nkana in the first leg hoping to continue that trend.
Another past winner, Leopards de Dolisie – champions two years ago – welcome Medeama, while ASEC Mimosas, who claimed Champions League success in 1998, visit South Africa to take on Kaizer Chiefs.
Elsewhere, there is an all-Mali affair as Real Bamako host Djoliba, while Sewe Sport welcome Bayelsa United and Angolan outfit Petro de Luanda travel to Cameroon to take on Cotonsport.
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