Favorable draws see Orlando Pirates reach CAF Confederation Cup final
Orlando Pirates had an excellent chance of reaching a second CAF Confederation Cup final after securing favorable quarter-final and semi-final draws in Cairo on Tuesday.
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the Buccaneers Tanzanian outfit face Simba SC in the round of 16 stage of the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League with the first leg in Dar es Salaam on Easter Sunday April 17.
The Orlando Pirates, who lost 2-1 on aggregate to Tunisian side Etoile Sahel in the 2015 final, will host the second leg in Soweto the following weekend.
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Simba SC also traveled to South Africa last season and suffered a 4-0 defeat against Kaizer Chiefs in the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League.
The Tanzanian side staged a brave comeback in the second leg to win 3-0 but ended up losing as they sought to become the first side from the East African nation to win a club competition in the CIF.
If Orlando Pirates overcome Simba SC, they will face a Libyan club, Al-Ittihad or neighbors of Tripoli Al Ahlyin the semi-finals in May, with the first match in the oil-rich North African country.
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The Orlando Pirates lost 3-2 away and drew 0-0 at home to Al-Ittihad in the group stage, but a side led by veteran centre-back Happy Jele hope to reverse the results if they meet again.
Ahly Tripoli surprisingly won Group A ahead of Egyptian big spenders Pyramids and will start as a slight favorite to win the Libyan derby.
In the other half of the quarter-final draw, Pyramids will face two-time CAF Confederation Cup winners TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Funded by Saudi and Emirati petro dollars, Pyramids are competing for a third straight season and have finished runners-up and reached the semi-finals in previous attempts.
Mazembe lost the now aging stars who helped them win the CAF Champions League three times in the last decade, but won Group C and remain particularly strong at home in the mining town of Lubumbashi.
Moroccan side Renaissance Berkane, the other former CAF Confederation Cup titleholders on the pitch, will travel to Egypt for the first leg of a quarter-final against Al Masry.
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CAF CONFEDERATION CUP DRAW
Simba (TAN) vs. Orlando Pirates (RSA)
Al Ittihad (LBA) vs Al Ahly Tripoli (LBA)
Pyramids (EGY) – TP Mazembe (COD)
Al Masry (EGY) against Renaissance Berkane (MAR)
First legs: April 17; return matches: 24 April
Ittihad or Ahly against Simba or pirate
Pyramids or Mazembe v Masry or Berkane
First legs: 8 May; return matches: 15 May
Note: The single-match final will be played May 22-29 at a location to be announced later.
By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse