World Cup finalists Nigeria and South Africa suffered the embarrassment of seeing their clubs crash out of all African club competitions at the weekend.
Nigerian champions Enyimba failed to overcome a 4-1 deficit against ASEC Abidjan of the Ivory Coast in the African Champions League despite a valiant effort in Calabar on Sunday.
Enyimba won the return leg 3-1 to lose by a solitary goal and continue Nigeria’s 34-year record of never having won Africa’s premier club competition.
Enyimba were the last surviving Nigerian team in Africa’s three club tournaments after Dolphins and NFA FC lost last month in the first round of the African Cup Winners Cup and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Cup respectively.
South Africa’s Orlando Pirates suffered an unexpected reversal at the hands of TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo in their Champions League second-round, second-leg tie in Tembisa on Saturday.
Pirates looked to have the upper hand after a forcing a 1-1 draw away in Lubumbashi in the first leg but paid the price for defensive slips and lost 3-1 at home to go out 4-2 on aggregate.
South African interest in this year’s continental competition ended in Kumasi on Sunday when the country’s newly-crowned league champions Santos were knocked out of the Cup Winners Cup.
A 1-1 draw with hometown favourites Asantae Kotoko was not enough for the Cape Town club, who had been held 3-3 at home in the first leg and were eliminated on the away goals rule.
Cameroon also suffered a reversal in the same competition when Fovu de Baham were held goalless after two matches by newcomers AS Police of Congo before losing a penalty shootout at home on Sunday.
But Cameroon’s last surviving side, Tonnerre Yaounde, staged a second-half fightback in the CAF Cup to draw 2-2 away at TP Akwembe of Gabon and go through to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate. Former Cameroon international Jean-Marc Etougou scored the decisive goal.
In the Champions League, holders Al Ahli of Egypt and arch city rivals Zamalek both qualified for the last eight. Ahli won on the away goals rule at Al Merreikh of Sudan while Zamalek drew 1-1 in Zambia against Nkana FC for a 3-1 aggregate victory. The two Cairo sides, who have one of the fiercest rivalries in world football, now go into the draw for the league format of the competition, where CAF are to seed the top four sides. Both are expected to be seeded but could end up in the same group when the draw is made in Cairo on May 11.
They are joined by ASEC Abidjan, TP Mazembe, Senegal’s Jeanne d’Arc, Raja Casablanca of Morocco, Esperance of Tunisia and the only newcomers Costa do Sol of Mozambique.
(C) Reuters Limited 2002.