The South African flag continues flying in the CAF interclub competitions after the country’s remaining three representatives – Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs – progressed in their respective games yesterday.
Sundowns and Pirates advanced to the Champions League group stage, while Chiefs qualified for the play-off round of the Confederation Cup.
The Brazilians saw off Ahli Benghazi of Libya with goals from Gastón Sirino, Anthony Laffor, Ali Meza and an own goal at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.
Sundowns won 4-0 on aggregate after their first leg ended goalless at Benghazi’s alternative home ground in Cairo, Egypt last weekend. This is the fourth time in a row that coach Pitso Mosimane’s side had reached the group stage of the tournament they won in 2016.
Pirates booked their ticket with a hard-fought victory over stubborn Namibian side African Stars at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek yesterday.
Justin Shonga’s strike in the 55th minute ensured that the Buccaneers scraped through 1-0 after the two sides yielded a goalless draw in the first leg of their encounter in Soweto last Saturday.
Elsewhere, a Hendrick Ekstein’s brace and a goal from Ryan Moon – both coming on as second-half substitutes - handed Amakhosi a 3-0 victory over Elgeco Plus of Madagascar in their Confederation Cup reverse fixture at Stade Municipal de Mahamasina in Antananarivo.
Amakhosi beat the Malagasy minnows 3-0 in the first leg in Port Elizabeth last weekend and have now advanced to the second round of the second-tier tournament 6-0 on aggregate.
The result also marked new coach Ernst Middendorp’s third straight victory since he took over the reins at the Naturena-based club a fortnight ago.
Amakhosi will next face one of the sides that drop from the Champions League first round and will have the advantage of hosting the second leg.
The three South African giants will know the identity of their next opponents at the draw, to be conducted by CAF in Cairo on Friday.
The Champions League and Confederation Cup programme will resume in the second week of January.