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MBABANE – It will be a mountain to climb for Royal Leopard in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The police side will face the most successful club in Algeria, Jeunesse Sportive de Kabylie (JS Kabylie). The 2021/22 TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup additional second preliminary round was held yesterday in Egypt and the first leg match will be played on  weekend of November 27-28 at Mavuso Sports Centre and the second leg a week later. It is not that the police ensemble was drawn against a team that has won the CAF Champions League two times in 1981 and 1990, but it is also the financial aspect of the match.  

JS Kabylie have represented Algeria in the Champions League on 16 occasions, the Confederation Cup on five separate occasions, the now-defunct Cup Winners’ Cup on two separate occasions, and the now-defunct CAF Cup on four occasions. Leopard avoided some South Africa teams including Orlando Pirates, who were drawn against Liberia’s LPRC Oilers with Marumo Gallants to face TP Mazembe from DR Congo that were eliminated by AmaZulu. Other southern Africa teams in the tournament include Zambia’s Zesco United that will face Mali’s Binga.

Leopard were part of the 16 teams that dropped out of the CAF Champions League second round preliminary round after a 3-2 defeat by Angola’s Grupo Desportivo Sagrada Esperance and they were drawn against the 16 teams that remain in the CAF Confederation Cup after the second round of the preliminaries. The winners of this round will go through to the group stages where a team is guaranteed a cheque of about E7.7 million. Leopard Public Relations Officer (PRO) Frank Hurube conceded that it was a mountain to climb for them as they would be facing Algeria’s giants. He said they would have to work extra hard if they were to achieve their goal of reaching the group stages of the tournament for the first time.

“Luck was not on our side as we were looking maybe at getting an opponent in South Africa but it is what it is now. We are going to prepare for them and face them with positive minds. They don’t know us and the same applies to us,’ he said. Hurube said they will also be facing huge financial challenges and he pleaded with stakeholders to assist them financially as they prepare to play one of the top Africa sides.

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