30.04.2015 08:00 h

Swazi cops follow footsteps of Muhammad Ali

Swaziland police football team Royal Leopards go to the stadium where Muhammad Ali won the 'Rumble in the Jungle', seeking to create CAF Confederation Cup history this weekend.

Ali knocked out George Foreman 41 years ago during the eighth round of a world heavyweight title bout at Stade Tata Raphael in Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa.

And at the same 30,000-seat venue this Sunday, Leopards defend a 1-0 first-leg lead over Congolese AS Vita Club, the hot favourites to win the last-16 tie.

No Swazi club has advanced beyond this stage of the second-tier African club competition, but 29-year-old Leopards coach Sifiso Ntibane says Kinshasa holds no fears for him or his side.

The stadium where Ali and Foreman boxed ranks among the most intimidating in Africa for visiting footballers.

"We are prepared for any situation," the former Swaziland winger told AFP, ahead of the clash with the 2014 CAF Champions League runners-up.

"My boys are ready for war. They have been to hostile venues before and know what to expect."

What Leopards, composed exclusively of full-time police constables, can expect is an onslaught from Vita, probably spearheaded by Firmin Mubele.

V. Club trounced Mozambicans Ferroviario da Beira 3-0 in the round-of-32 at Stade Tata Raphael with national team striker Mubele bagging a brace.

The Swazis had mixed results in previous away games this season, slumping 3-0 to South Africans Wits in Johannesburg and shocking Angolans Petro Atletico 1-0 in Luanda.

V. Club coach Florent Ibenge blamed poor ball control for the first-leg loss in Swaziland.

"Difficulty in controlling the ball allowed our opponents to press us," said the handler who guided DR Congo to third at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

The eight-fixture Confederation Cup schedule begins Friday with another match at Stade Tata Raphael and another Congolese club with a one-goal deficit to overcome.

MK Etancheite are better placed than compatriots AS Vita having scored an away goal in a 2-1 loss to Nigerians Warri Wolves.

The Congolese also trailed 2-1 after the first leg in the previous round, then banged five goals past Sudanese Al Ahly Shendy in Kinshasa.

Kadima Kabangu could pose the biggest threat to the Wolves as his four goals makes him the second highest Confederation Cup scorer this season.

Leading scorer Georges Ambourouet, who has struck six goals, will be in South Africa with his team-mates from Gabonese club Mounana.

They were held 2-2 at home by former African champions Orlando Pirates after surrendering a two-goal advantage.

Ghanaians Hearts of Oak and Ivorians ASEC Mimosas are well placed having won first legs in Mali two weeks ago.

Hearts lead Djoliba 2-1 and ASEC lead Onze Createurs 1-0 and it would be a shock if either hosts failed to progress.

Egyptians Zamalek and newly crowned Tanzanian champions Young Africans are in trouble having been held at home.

Moroccans FUS Rabat forced a 0-0 stalemate with Zamalek in Cairo and Tunisians Etoile Sahel came from behind to draw 1-1 with Young Africans in Dar es Salaam.