Johannesburg – South African club Marumo Gallants shrugged off dismal domestic form to trounce Libyan visitors Al Akhdar 4-1 on Sunday when the CAF Confederation Cup group phase kicked off.
Several blunders by goalkeeper Miftah Al Taeb contributed to the heavy loss for the only north African country that has not won a CAF competition.
Nku Lesiba put Marumo ahead within five minutes, Ranga Chivaviro added two goals and Joseph Malongoane completed the scoring after Akram Alzawi reduced the arrears.
Libyan opponents bring out the best in Marumo as they also won by three goals at home to Al Ahly Tripoli in a play-off.
But while the South Africans have done well in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League, they are facing relegation from the national league with just three victories in 21 matches.
“We have been playing very well in the South African Premiership without achieving results,” said Raymond Mdaka, the third coach of Gallants this season.
“We are doing well in Africa despite it being more difficult playing there because we have limited knowledge of our opponents. A couple of video clips was all we had of Akhdar.
⏰ FT’ I CAF Confederation Cup! ?
Marumo Gallants ?? [4-1] Al Akhdar ??
— Micky Jnr ✪ (@MickyJnr__) February 12, 2023
“To triumph by three goals is great, but the winning margin could have been even wider as we missed scoring chances, especially in the first half.”
Lone Nigerian representatives Rivers United came a cropper in Congo-Brazzaville, conceding three goals in seven minutes during the first half to crash 3-0 against Diables Noirs.
Carl Wunda broke the deadlock on 30 minutes and further goals from Jaures Ngombe and Domi Massoumou left the Port Harcourt outfit with little hope of avoiding defeat.
They spurned a chance to get on the scoresheet after half-time when Ebube Duru missed a penalty following a foul on Joseph Onoja.
Tanzanian hopefuls Young Africans shocked Club Africain of Tunisia in the play-offs, but were unable to repeat the feat in the north African nation when losing 2-0 to US Monastir in Rades.
Monastir made light of having to play almost 170 kilometres (106 miles) from their base due to security reasons and won via early goals by Mohamed Saghraoui and Malian Boubacar Traore.