El Merriekh, KCCA renew rivalry
SUDAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS El Merriekhwill be seeking vengeance when they face Uganda champions KCCA in the first semi-final clash of the CecafaKagame Club Championship due on Friday at Kigali Regional Stadium.
The tricky semi- final will be a repeat of the 2014 CAF Champions League preliminary two-leg where KCCA FC knocked El Merriekh 3-2 goal aggregate and now the Sudanese have vowed to turn tables to book a final berth.
Head coach BurhaneldinYousief expects a tough duel but is optimistic his side will reign over KCCA to reach the final.
“We didn’t stage a good start to this tournament but I am happy with how my team has improved in every game. KCCA has a strong team composed of talented individual players but we are equally strong and we believe we can beat them to reach the final,”
KCCA head coach George ‘Best’ Nsimbe said, “We will not take El Merreikh lightly though we beat them in the Champions League this year. They have improved and when you see the way they play, they have good individual players who can be of a threat to us if we are not careful,”
“We will maintain our play and my boys are thirsty for the win. We want to win and reach the final. The CecafaKagame Cup title is what we want at the end of the tournament,” added Nsimbe.
El Merreikh cruised to the last four following a 4-3 victory in penalty shoot-outs to stop Tanzania League champions Azam FC at the quarter final stage with their Ugandan goalkeeper Salim Omar Magoola stopping the last kick that won them the match.
KCCA also humbled debutants Atlabara FC from South Sudan 3-1 to enter the money bracket.
In the second semi-final, Rwandan champions APR face a tricky test against debutants Police Fc at 6pm. The three-time league champiosn APR have reigned over Police in the domestic league in the local league but with new coach Andre CassaMbungo in charge, the law enforcers might surprise the military side.
“We are pleased to reach the semi-final after taking part in this tournament for the first time. The boys put on a spirited performance throughout and we believe we will stage more triumphant performances in the next round,”
“We are well prepared and ready to face APR. I know APR and so they do too but what I can guarantee is that fans will enjoy a good game. Our mission is to reach the final and eventually win the title,” added the former AS Kigali tactician who took the club to third round of the Orange Confederation Cup this year on their debut.
The regional competition will climax on Sunday with the winner taking home US$30,000, while the runner-up nags US$20,000. The third placed team will win a cash prize of US$10,000.