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Mazembe hoping for some good fortune in the playoffs

Sport

The showdown between TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and JS Kabylie of Algeria is the stand-out match in the Caf Confederation Cup play-offs this weekend.

Mazembe are the second most successful club in African competitions with 10 titles, trailing only 19-time winners Al Ahly of Egypt.

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Kabylie have triumphed six times in Caf competitions, but not since winning a third consecutive final 15 years ago in the now defunct Caf Cup.

Mazembe are among 16 Champions League round-of-32 losers pitted against the survivors from two rounds of Confederation Cup qualifying.

The first legs are scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday and the African Independent takes a closer look at five of the most interesting.


FUS Rabat (Morocco) v MAS Fes (Morocco)
The only tie between clubs from the same country pairs former Confederation Cup title-holders FUS Rabat (2010) and MAS Fes (2011). 

FUS went on to win the Moroccan title last season while Fes are now a second division side having been relegated from the 16-club top tier. 

Rabat were demoted from the Champions League after an away-goals loss to Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya while good home form took Fes through two Confederation Cup qualifiers.


TP Mazembe (Democratic Republic of Congo) v JS Kabylie (Algeria)
Mazembe hope for a change of fortune after losing the Caf Super Cup match in February and being dumped from the Champions League last month. 

They fell 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in the Super Cup clash, then lost to CAPS United of Zimbabwe on away goals after two Champions League draws. 

Kabylie had a mixed passage in the Confederation Cup, coming from three goals behind to oust a Liberian club, then edging one from Congo Brazzaville via a late goal.


AC Leopards (Congo Brazzaville) v Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland)
This tie offers Swallows a chance to become the first qualifiers from tiny Swaziland for the group stage of a Caf club competition. 

The “Birds” impressed in the final Confederation Cup qualifying round, hammering Azam of Tanzania 3-0 at home with Wonder Nhleko among the goal scorers. 

Former Confederation Cup title-holders Leopards are lucky to be still chasing a title having being demoted after losing three of four Champions League matches.


Enugu Rangers (Nigeria) v Zesco Utd (Zambia)
Zesco were one of the surprise sides in Africa last year, reaching the Champions League semi-finals before losing narrowly to eventual title winners Sundowns. 

Playing this season in a theoretically weaker competition, the Ndola club will expect to go far again and began by firing four goals past Burundian rivals. 

Enugu, their pride hurt by a Champions League loss to Zamalek of Egypt, should prove much tougher opposition in an intriguing clash.


Rail Kadiogo (Burkina Faso) v CS Sfaxien (Tunisia)
No Burkinabe club has reached the group phase of a Caf competition and the chances of Kadiogo ending that run of failures diminished this week. 

The club must host three-time Confederation Cup winners Sfaxien behind closed doors after crowd trouble last month in a Champions League match. 

Kadiogo coach Kamou Malo was branded the “main instigator” of bottle throwing and a pitch invasion and barred from the dressing-room and touchline for eight matches.


Confed Cup

FIXTURES
Play-offs, first legs

Saturday 8 April
At Antananarivo: CNaPS Sport (MAD) v Recreativo Libolo (ANG) 1.30pm
At Dar es Salaam: Young Africans (TAN) v Mouloudia Alger (ALG) 3pm
At Johannesburg: Bidvest Wits (RSA) v Smouha (EGY) 3pm
At Kampala: Kampala Capital City Authority (UGA) v Al Masry (EGY) 3pm
At Libreville: CF Mounana (GAB) v ASEC Mimosas (CIV) 4pm

Sunday, 9 April
At Curepipe, Mauritius: AS Port Louis 2000 (MRI) v Club Africain (TUN) 1.30pm


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