Saturday,21 April, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1341, (20 - 26 April 2017)
Saturday,21 April, 2018
Issue 1341, (20 - 26 April 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Three flights and a camel ride

South African club Bidvest Wits braved a depleted side and a long journey before losing to Egypt’s Smouha in the Confederation Cup

photo: Essam Shokri
photo: Essam Shokri

Egypt’s Smouha edged South African side Bidvest Wits 1-0 to advance to the 16th round of the CAF Confederation Cup.

The second leg of a play-off round encounter at Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria took place on Saturday 15 April after their first leg 0-0 draw in Johannesburg.

Bidvest were unlucky as they missed the efforts of a number of players due to injury. The Clever Boys were already without the injured James Keene, Daine Klate, Xola Mlambo and Grandwald Scott.

“We’re running dry with players,” coach Gavin Hunt told reporters after the game. “I kept thinking how many we’ve got, we’ve got nothing left. So we came here, went around the world on three flights and a camel ride, and we played. Thank God that we were able to lose only by one goal.”

Smouha had the upper hand and its sole goal came through a penalty kick by Ahmed Hassan Mekky. But the team played as one unit and were up to the challenge.

Their opponents were one of the strongest teams Smouha have played against because of their two key players: Phakamani Mahlambi and Elias Pelembe.

Smouha’s head coach Mo’men Suleiman was very happy with the team’s performance. “My players played like men to the end and they did their best to qualify and here we are moving to the second round. I hope we will be able to continue and make history by reaching the finals.”

In the same championship, Masri of Egypt did not fare as well, ousted by Uganda’s KCCA 4-3 on penalties in Ismailia. The Kampala Capital City Authority thus became the first Ugandan club to reach the group stage of an African continental competition.

Masri levelled the aggregate score with a goal on home soil through Ahmed Gomaa to make it 1-1 overall before KCCA’s win on penalties.

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