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CAF Confederation Cup: Midweek Preview

The group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup resume on Wednesday following an extended break since May.

A number of sides will be hoping to hit the ground running to reignite their campaigns, while for others, there is the chance to cement their places at the top of their pool and put one foot into the quarter finals.

In this feature, KweséESPN assesses the state of the four groups ahead of the re-start.

GROUP A

Fixtures: Aduana Stars (Ghana) vs AS Vita Club (DR Congo), ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast) vs Raja Casablanca (Morocco)

Standings: AS Vita Club 4pts, ASEC Mimosas 3pts, Raja Casablanca 2pts, Aduana Stars 1pt

Summary: This is a tight pool that could conceivably be turned on its head in one matchday if Ghanaian side Aduana Stars defeat group leaders AS Vita Club and the other match between ASEC Mimosas and Raja Casablanca ends in a draw.

Vita Club were recently crowned champions in the Democratic Republic of Congo and, in coach Florent Ibenge, boast a highly-experienced tactician.

They will be favourites to win in Ghana, but come up against a Stars side who face being cut off at the foot of the table with another defeat.

Stars came from behind three times in their previous outing, a 3-3 home draw with Raja, so have shown some resilience.

The match between ASEC and Raja is a close one to call with the latter having been involved in two draws so far. They might be happy with another point in Abidjan.

GROUP B

Fixtures: Al-Hilal (Sudan) vs UD Songo (Mozambique), RS Berkane (Morocco) vs Al-Masry (Egypt)

Standings: Berkane 6pts, Al-Masry 4pts, Al-Hilal 1pt, UD Songo 0pts

Summary: RS Berkane are the surprise leaders at the top of the pool with a full haul of six points, but face perhaps their toughest test yet away at Egyptian side Al-Masry.

The Moroccans won 1-0 at home to Al-Hilal in their opener and then defeated minnows US Songo 2-0 away to make a bright start to their group-stage campaign.

Al-Masry also won against the Mozambique side and crucially claimed a point in Omdurman against Al-Hilal, who only equalized through a late penalty.

Al-Hilal will be expected to bounce back at home against Songo in this round, which would likely turn the group into a three-horse race, no matter what happened in the other match.

GROUP C

Fixtures: Enyimba (Nigeria) vs Williamsville AC (Ivory Coast), Djoliba (Mali) vs CARA Brazzaville (Congo)

Standings: Williamsville 4pts, CARA 3pts, Enyimba 3pts, Djoliba 1pt

Summary: Another tight pool that could go down to the wire with bottom side Djoliba hosting CARA Brazzaville and in with a good shout of claiming a win on their own patch.

They were held 1-1 at home by surprise Ivorian qualifiers Williamsville AC in their last match, and are now in desperate need of a win or will find qualification tough with two of their remaining three matches on the road.

Williamsville AC now travel to Nigeria to meet Enyimba, who were surprisingly humbled by CARA in their last game, although it was played in Brazzaville.

This appears to be one of those groups where all the teams will find points on the road extremely hard to come by, regardless of status or reputation.

GROUP D

Fixtures: Gor Mahia (Kenya) vs Young Africans (Tanzania), Rayon Sports (Rwanda) vs USM Alger (Algeria)

Standings: USM Alger 4pts, Gor Mahia 2pts, Rayon Sports 2pts, Young Africans 1pt

Summary: A group dominated by East African sides with favourites USM Alger thrown in.

The Algerians will almost certainly qualify for the next stage, which leaves a bun-fight between the CECAFA teams for a place in the quarter finals.

Both fixtures in the previous round finished 0-0, a sign that the sides will largely cancel each other out, but Gor Mahia should be too strong for Tanzanians Young Africans at home in the third round of games.

Rayon Sports will host USM Alger in Kigali, where another point may well suit the North Africans with two home games to come.

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