Mmegi Online :: Al Merreikh ranked Africa’s fifth best side
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Last Updated
Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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Al Merreikh ranked Africa’s fifth best side

Township Rollers face a mammoth task, when they take on Sudan’s Al Merreikh in a CAF Champions League preliminary round tie at the National Stadium tomorrow.
By Staff Writer Fri 09 Feb 2018, 14:56 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Al Merreikh ranked Africa’s fifth best side








Al Merreikh stayed fifth in the latest club rankings released on Monday, although the ratings are questionable, with some defunct sides still on the list.

Rollers officials recently acknowledged Al Merreikh’s strength based on what are seen as flawed rankings.

Al Ahly of Egypt lead the standings, followed by Esperance of Tunisia, and then TP Mazembe from DRC are third, while Etoile du Sahel, also from Tunisia, are fourth.  Al Merreikh are rated fifth.

The rankings were updated after Sunday’s matches. While Al Merreikh are a formidable side, having dominated the Sudanese league and won the CAF Confederations Cup in 1989, their record is not too intimidating.

They have participated in the CAF Champions League 19 times, with their best run ending at the semi-final stage in 2015.

Last season, Al Merreikh finished as runners up in the Sudanese league behind bitter rivals, Al Hilal. Their last competitive game was a 2-0 loss to Al Hilal on November 25, and the league has been on a recent since.

They play a physical game, while Rollers are slicker, with methodical build-up.

While

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Al Merreikh start the two-legged tie as favourites, Rollers should have enough arsenal to get a first leg cushion before the return leg in Khartoum next week.

Rollers have been active with the Botswana league past the halfway mark, while the Sudanese side will be short of competitive match practice. They had to rely on friendly matches with their league only starting on February 15, 2018.

Rollers would look to take full advantage as the home side have enjoyed a good run thus far, reaching the final of the Mascom Top 8, while they sit top of the BTC Premiership, six points ahead of nearest pursuers, Jwaneng Galaxy.

However, Rollers have flattered to deceive in international competitions. Last year, after being presented with a relatively easy draw against little known CNaPs from Madagascar, the local champions squandered a good start to surrender on away goals rule.

Rollers have not given up, continuing to build a strong side under club president, Jagdish Shah and doing well in Africa remains their priority after conquering on the local front.

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