Usuthu continue their African adventure

AmaZulu players warming up

AmaZulu will continue their thrilling ‘African adventure’ when they face hosts Raja Casablanca in a CAF Champions League Group B match at Stade Mohamed V on the evening of Saturday 12 February 2022, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.

AmaZulu have been one of the revelations of the Champions League this season. The debutants recovered from an opening home defeat to Malawi’s Nyasa Big Bullets to take the tie 3-2 on aggregate, before ousting DR Congo heavyweights TP Mazembe on away goals to earn a spot in the final 16.

Usuthu lost on their return to competitive football this past weekend, succumbing 1-0 to Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup, but coach Benni McCarthy believes it helped his team tune up for their trip to Morocco.

“This game was very important for us to gauge our readiness for Raja. I can say it helped us to prepare for the Champions League,” said McCarthy. He added: “We will be okay. I won’t say we’ll be pushing Sundowns for honours in the league but we will definitely be able to hold our own and we will be competitive in the Champions League.”

AmaZulu’s opponents, Moroccan side Raja, have major pedigree in African club competition: they are three-time African champions (1989, 1997 and 1999) and the reigning CAF Confederation Cup title holders (amongst other continental honours).

The Green Eagles earned their place in the group stage with a comfortable 4-0 aggregate win over Liberia’s LPRC Oilers, though their recent form has not been anything to shout about.

Raja have played to three successive draws in their domestic league, following a penalty shootout defeat to Al Ahly in the CAF Super Cup match in December.

In head-to-head terms, this will be the first competitive meeting of Raja Casablanca and AmaZulu.

The other Group B clash this weekend sees Guinea’s Horoya host Algerian side ES Setif in Conakry in an earlier kick-off on Saturday afternoon.