Swaziland cops on trail of more CAF Confederation Cup glory

Swaziland cops on trail of more CAF Confederation Cup glory

A group of Swaziland policemen will swap uniforms and batons for football kit Saturday and try to pull off another CAF Confederation Cup shock.

Royal Leopards host Angolan oil company club Petro Atletico at Somhlolo Stadium in the first leg of a last-32 showdown in the second-tier African club competition.

It is a classic David-versus-Goliath fixture and no one dare dismiss Leopard after they stunned South Africans Wits in the preliminary round.

Trailing by three goals from the away leg, Leopards were given no chance of becoming the first Swazi side to eliminate South African opponents from a CAF competition.

But coach Sifiso Ntibane instilled belief in the policemen that history could be created and goals from Muzi Dlamini, Zweli Nxumalo and Mathokoza Thwala levelled the aggregate score.

A penalty shootout was needed to break the deadlock and the Swazis triumphed to give the small, landlocked southern Africa kingdom a rare opportunity to celebrate football success.

Despite sending Wits packing, Leopard will be outsiders against the vastly more experienced and better funded African campaigners from Luanda.

Ntibane, once a speedy winger, admits to knowing little about Petro, who came closest to African glory in 1997 when finishing CAF Cup runners-up to Tunisians Esperance.

"I have seen a few video clips of them," he told AFP. "Angolan teams tend to be physical and we are ready for them.

"Winning at home is crucial to our hopes of reaching the next round. My squad are focused and keeping their feet on the ground after shocking Wits."

Stars of the Leopard squad include goalkeeper Mphikeleli Dlamini, wingers Zweli Nxumalo and Thwala and striker Muzi Nxumalo.

Mabululu, who prefers a nickname to his Cristovao Paciencia real name, is a Petro striker to watch having bagged a brace in the 4-0 home victory over Comorans Volcan Moroni. 

Tunisians Club Africain and Etoile Sahel, Ivorians ASEC Mimosas, Ghanaians Hearts of Oak, Egyptians Zamalek, South Africans Orlando Pirates and Congolese V Club are former African champions in the field.

Club Africain have a home date with Nigerians Dolphin in a clash of teams who were Confederation Cup runners-up.

Hearts of Oak host Senegalese Olympique Ngor with a point to prove as former Ghana stars believe the team "lack the quality to compete in Africa and are wasting money".

Zamalek, the second most successful club in CAF competitions with nine titles, host Rwandans Rayon Sports in a fixture moved from Cairo to Red Sea resort El-Gouna for security reasons.

Pirates entertain Revenue Authority, a Ugandan outfit who will miss suspended Robert Ssentengo, scorer of three preliminary-round goals.

ASEC host Libyans Al-Ittihad, Etoile have home advantage over Angolans Benfica Luanda and V Club tackle Mozambican visitors Ferroviario Beira.

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