11th May, 2012
After surviving a first leg scare in Mali, Sunshine Stars FC of Nigeria coach, Gbenga Ogunbote has charged his players to go for an early goal when they confront visiting FC Djoliba of Mali, in a round of 16 match billed for Dipo Dina International Stadium, in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, on Saturday.
The Ondo state Government-owned club are poised to be among the eight survivors from this round after they held Djoliba to a 1-1 draw away in Mali with Izu Azuka putting Sunshine ahead and Ibrahima Sidibe equalising for the home side two weeks ago.
“Our target is to win the Champions League, and my players are aware of this, hence, we will be going for an early goal against the Malian team, like we did when we played them a fortnight ago,” said Ogunbote, while speaking with P.M.Sports on the phone today.
In the other fixtures, title holders Esperance of Tunisia and former champions Al Ahly and Zamalek of Egypt, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Etoile Sahel of Tunisia all look capable of progressing to the quarter finals.
Esperance hold a 6-0 advantage ahead of the long journney south to face Dynamos in Zimbabwe and no club in the 48-year history of the competition has closed such a yawning gap. African champions a record six times, Ahly must overcome a 1-0 loss away to Stade Malien. Zamalek achieved the outstanding result of the first leg by winning 2-0 away to 2011 CAF Confederation Cup title holders Moghreb Fes of Morocco with the most capped footballer in the world Ahmed Hassan of Egypt among the scorers.
Mazembe, whose challenge for a record third consecutive title came to an abrupt halt last year when they were kicked out for fielding an ineligible player, take a 2-0 advantage against Al Merreikh to Sudan. Etoile are even better off with a 4-1 lead over second-leg hosts AFAD Djekanou of Ivory Coast despite missing two penalties and ASO Chlef of Algeria must fancy their chances having held Al Hilal to a 1-1scoreline in Sudan.