Enugu Rangers, for one, have nothing to fear. JS Saoura was a tough test they passed without needing to win, two draws, one weightier than the other, and progression was guaranteed. Now they’re into the first round and nothing can be tougher than facing Zamalek who could have been the defending champion of the Champions League as we speak, but for an imperious Mamelodi Sundowns who dispatched the White Knights in an impressive fashion.
Despite their poor run in the league this season, Rangers can be hopeful. First of all, the statistics speak in their favour. Rangers have lost just one of their last six first round fixtures in the CAF Champions League, winning four and drawing the other, they have a superb record that will intimidate their presumably tough opponents. More so, Rangers held Al Ahly to a goalless draw in 2003 – that was the last time they faced an Egyptian side in this competition – a long time ago but Imama Amapakabo will do well do revive the spirit in Rangers. Although, this time, they’ll prefer a score draw.
Secondly, Rangers may want to capitalize on the controversy surrounding Zamalek at the moment. Zamalek players had walked off the pitch in protest with six minutes of injury time to play after instructions from staff members for what they believed was an apparent handball which was denied in a game they were losing. Zamalek have since contemplated whether or not they would continue in the Egyptian Premier League.
It is difficult for anyone to be a hundred percent focused on any game with so much going on, the uncertainties and possible sanctions looming, and Rangers will only be smart enough to take full advantage of the whole messy scenario to snatch the tie here, in Egypt.
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