Southern African clubs did not really cover themselves in glory during the second round, first leg of the CAF African Champions League this weekend, with Lesotho side Bantu getting hammered 4-1 by AS Vita in Kinshasa.
Mamelodi Sundowns entered the lion’s den against Al Ahly Benghazi in Cairo but came out holding their heads high after salvaging an impressive goalless draw against a Libyan side that play their fixtures in neighboring countries.
Botswana referee Joshua Bondo will take charge of the second leg match scheduled for the Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday, assisted by compatriots Moemedi Monakwane and Meshack Medupi.
But Maseru side Bantu, coached by former Bloemfontein Celtic stalwart James Madidilane, caused a major upset in the previous round when they eliminated Botswana giants Township Rollers but found the going really tough in the cauldron of Kinshasa.
They were put to the sword by Vita who raced into a 3-0 lead before the break and although Bantu pulled one back, Vita proved their experience and pedigree at this level as they increased their lead to 4-1 and Bantu held on until the final whistle.
Zambian side Nkana was the only Southern African team that posted a positive result, beating Tanzanian side Simba 2-1 with goals from Ronald Kampamba and Kelvin Mubanga at the Nkana Stadium on Friday, with John Bocco replying for the visitors.
Another Zambian side Zesco United were unfortunate to narrowly go down 1-0 to TP Mazembe at the Stade de Kamalondo in Lubumbashi, but would fancy their chances in the second leg match at home this weekend.
Norman Mapeza invaded Togo with his Zimbabwean FC Platinum and they grind out an impressive 1-1 draw against Otoho FC which gives them a fighting chance going into the second leg match this weekend.
South African early league pace setters Orlando Pirates were expected to easily shake off African Stars who had four days leading to the match, fired their coach Robert Nauseb and replaced him with Bobby Samaria, but they failed to break down the resolute Namibians in a goalless stalemate at Orlando Stadium.
It was the kind of game that coach Micho would like to forget in a hurry as his swashbuckling Buccaneers enjoyed a large chunk of possession but failed to convert against a side that gave the impression that it would be tough at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura township on Saturday.