21.12.2020 07:00 h

Zambian club Nkana defend 62-match unbeaten home record in Africa

Zambian club Nkana have played 62 home matches in Confederation of African Football (CAF) competitions and never lost -- a record even mighty Al Ahly of Egypt cannot match.

They hope to extend the remarkable run of 44 victories and 18 draws from 1983 when they host Petro Luanda of Angola on Wednesday in a CAF Champions League last-32 first leg.

The record could be in jeopardy, though, as Nkana struggled to overcome modest Bantu of Lesotho in the preliminary round and their domestic form has been poor with just three wins in eight league matches.

Here, AFP Sport highlights five of the 32 clubs seeking overall victories, places in the group stage and a minimum $550,000 (450,000 euros) prize money.

Nkana sacked coach Manfred Chabinga last week and hired Kelvin Kaindu after a disappointing start to the Zambian Premier League and the Champions League seasons.

Kaindu has been set a tough target of going beyond the group stage in Africa with a club he calls "the greatest in Zambia".

While Nkana struggled against Bantu, Petro did not impress either, needing an 89th-minute goal from 'Yano' to squeeze past minnows Akonangui from Equatorial Guinea.

The Tanzanian club caused the biggest upset of the preliminary round by scoring the only goal of a tie against Plateau United of Nigeria.

It was the first time a club from the east African nation had beaten Nigerian opponents in a two-legged Champions League encounter.

The team coached by Belgian Sven Vandenbroeck face another tricky assignment, away to Platinum of Zimbabwe, who reached the group stage of the last two editions.

The Niger club have traditionally struggled, even at home, against top-class opposition and are the first team to confront Al Ahly in Africa since they won a record-extending ninth title last month.

Uncomfortable heat -- it was 34 degrees celsius (93 fahrenheit) in Niamey Sunday -- could hamper the Cairo Red Devils with the first leg scheduled to kick off at 1500 local time.

Ahly travelled to west Africa without head coach Pitso Mosimane, who is self-isolating after contracting Covid-19, and fellow South African Cavin Johnson has taken temporary charge.

No Kenyan club has reached the group stage and the odds are against Nairobi outfit Gor Mahia ending a run of three straight last 32 exits.

They have always battled when paired with north African rivals and it is unlikely to be any different when they confront CR Belouizdad of Algeria, who enjoy home advantage first.

While the Algerians won at home and away against Al Nasr of Libya in the preliminary round, Gor needed final-minute goals from Sydney Ochieng and Nicholas Kipkirui to edge APR of Rwanda.

Off-form South African side Chiefs host 2018 semi-finalists Primeiro Agosto of Angola with club chairman and founder Kaizer Motaung telling the squad "they must do better in Africa".

Chiefs believe they are among the African elite, but a Champions League record of failing to qualify for the group stage in five previous attempts suggests otherwise.

The Soweto outfit scraped past PWD Bamenda of Cameroon in the preliminary round and a weekend draw with Bloemfontein Celtic stretched a winless South African Premiership run to six matches.