Despite what appears to be a tough draw, Township Rollers coach, Nikola Kavazovic is content with the pairings following Wednesday night’s CAF Champions League group stages draw.
Rollers, making their debut in the money spinning group phases, are in the same pool as Egypt’s most decorated side, Al Ahly, multiple Champion League winners, Esperance of Tunisia and Kampala City Capital Authority (KCCA) of Uganda.
Of the three, Al Ahly and Esperance are the most dangerous, while KCCA will remain largely a closed book.
Between them the North African giants have 10 Champion League titles, with Al Ahly the most successful side with eight trophies.
But despite a tough draw that pits Popa against Africa’s finest talents, Kavazovic was rather unfazed when reacting to the draw.
“We have to be satisfied with the draw. Looking at all four groups, Group B (TP Mazembe, MC Alger, Difaa El Jadidi and ES Setif) is the group of death,” Kavazovic said.
“We had a group which I personally prefer and I’m happy with. We have to prepare very well and get the three points from our opening match against KCCA at home.
Once we have the three points, there will be no pressure on us for the next game,” Kavazovic added.
Rollers start their group stages campaign with a home game against KCCA on the first weekend of May, and with the two seen
The Blues are expected to target the Uganda team, while they have nothing to lose against the two other established giants of African football.
Other reactions from Group A teams;
Sayed Abdel Hafiz (director of football, Al Ahly)
“It is a balanced draw. Ahly will open our campaign against a strong team like Esperance, and matches between the two sides are always excitement packed. It is always important to start on a good note, and we will prepare towards that. It is also necessary to pay attention to KCCA and Township Rollers, despite being debutants at this stage.”
Mike Mutebi (head coach, KCCA)
“It is a very tough draw. We are an emerging force and a young team with an average age of 22.
This is the challenge we have been waiting for. Last season, we played against clubs from Egypt (El Masry) and Morocco (FUS Rabat), so we have experience against North African clubs, and we believe that will motivate us. We will be playing against some of the big sides in African football, but we are not scared. We are going to put up a good fight.”
(Additional reporting CAF Online)