What you need to know:
- Kenya is the most successful country in the African Club Championships with local clubs having won the title 13 times collectively.
- Egypt is second through record champions Al Ahly who have 10 titles to their name but have opted out of this year’s edition due to Covid-19 concerns.
In Kelibia, Tunisia.
Kenya Prisons technical director David Lung’aho is optimistic his charges can reclaim the Africa Club Championships title despite being drawn in a tough Pool “A” during the draws conducted on Tuesday.
Prisons, who last won the continental title in 2013, are in Pool “A” alongside Welaita Sodo of Ethiopia, Muzinga of Burundi, hosts Sfax and Kelibia also of Tunisia.
Kenya’s other representatives Pipeline are in Pool “B” where they will take on Customs of Nigeria, 2017 champions Carthage of Tunisia, ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast, AS Douanes of Burkina Faso and National Alcohol of Ethiopia.
The top two sides in each Pool proceed to the semi-finals.
“The draw is very tricky. Every team has come here to try and win matches and qualify for the next round. For me it’s tricky because I have two teams from Tunisia but I only know one, Sfax which is a good team. I don’t know what to expect from Kelibia,” assessed Lung’aho.
“Our target is to first ensure we qualify for the semi-finals and if possible avoid meeting with Pipeline.”
Lung’aho, who was in charge when Prisons were last crowned champions, believes a win in their first match against Muzinga of Burundi will put them in good stead of facing tougher opponents like Sfax and Kelibia.
“First game is always very tricky, especially after staying a whole year without playing an international tournament. Our first match will be more of a learning experience and how we play will determine how we are going. We want to put our heads together and ensure that we win,” said Lung’aho.
Pipeline coach Paul Gitau was elated with the draw saying it will allow them a chance to polish their game as the tournament progresses.
“I’m very happy with the draw. It was my wish that I don’t get a very strong pool and it has happened that way. I wanted to start on a lower note and I’m glad the last pool game (against Carthage) will decide who wins the pool,” said Gitau.
The five-time champions open their campaign against ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast on Wednesday 2pm EAT.
“There is a chance of meeting Prisons in the semis but it’s my wish that they also play well in the pool and we avoid each other in semis,” noted Gitau. “Our focus is not on the semi-final but our first game. We want to take each game at a time since every win will make our work easier moving forward.”
4.Sfax (host)- Tunisia
2.Carthage – Tunisia
3.Kenya Pipeline- Kenya
4.ASEC Mimosas- Ivory Coast
5.AS Douanes- Burkina Faso
6.National Alcohol- Ethiopia
Fixtures (Kenyan time)
Nigeria Customs Services v National Alcohol 12pm
Kenya Pipeline v ASEC Mimosas 2pm
Kenya Prisons v Muzinga 4pm
Carthage v AS Douanes 6pm
Wolaita Sodo v Sfax 10.30pm