CONTINENTAL DEBUTANTS, PYRAMIDS PLAN TO UPSET RANGERS AT HOME

After a dream start to their maiden continental campaign with the highlight being a place at the lucrative group stage, Egyptian debutants Pyramids will kick off their group stage campaign away to Nigeria’s Rangers in Enugu.

 

Last year’s revamp saw Pyramids, founded in 2008 under the name “Al Assiouty Sports” metamorphosing from Egyptian Premier League minnows to big spenders.

Their first season under the new name “Pyramids FC” ended in a third place finish in the Egyptian top flight, that earned them a place in this season’s Total CAF Confederation Cup.

With the help of experienced players, led by former Al Ahly playmaker Abdullah Elsaid, Ghanaian hitman John Antwi and Burkinabe Eric Traore, Pyramids entered their first ever continental adventure by recruiting ex- Uganda coach Sebastien Desabre to guide them banking on his knowledge of the African game.

Having spent nearly a decade in African football where he guided the likes of ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire), Coton Sport (Cameroon), Esperance (Tunisia), Recreativo do Libolo (Angola), JS Saoura (Algeria), Wydad (Morocco), Ismaily (Egypt), besides the national teams of Mauritania and Uganda, Desabre joined Pyramids a few days after he guided The Cranes to a Round of 16 berth at the last Africa Cup of Nations; the first in over four decades for the Ugandans.

The Frenchman has guided the debutants to overcome the hurdles at Congo’s Etoile du Congo, Algeria’s CR Belouizdad and Tanzanian giants Young Africans to reach the mini league stage, with an impressive record of five wins and a draw in six matches, including three away victories.

And they are inspired by their impressive away record as they visit the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu this Sunday, as Group A of the mini league stage kicks off, with fellow Egyptian outfit Al Masry and fellow debutants Nouadhibou of Mauritania completing the group.

Rangers enjoyed a preliminary round bye, before defeating Gabon’s AS Pelican and Togo’s ASC Kara on their way to the mini league stage, where they are looking to do better than last season when they failed to pass to the quarterfinals.

Having won their previous two home games, Rangers will hope this form carries on to start the group stage on a positive note after appointing former Nigeria coach Salisu Yusuf days ahead of the clash.

Yusuf, who guided Nigeria to a runner-up spot at the Total African Nations Championship in Morocco in 2018 replaces Benedict Ugwu, who was shown the exit after a 2-0 loss to newly promoted Akwa Starlets in the Nigerian top flight at the weekend.

Nouadhibou battles Masry in the other Group A match in Nouakchott, also on Sunday.

Fixtures

Group A

Sunday

  • Nouakchott Nouadhibou (Mauritania) vs Al Masry (Egypt)
  • Enugu Rangers (Nigeria) vs Pyramids (Egypt)

Group B

Sunday

  • Johannesburg Bidvest (South Africa) vs Horoya (Guinea)
  • Cairo El Nasr (Libya) vs Djoliba (Mali)

Group C

Sunday

  • Berkane RS Berkane (Morocco) vs ESAE (Benin)
  • Kinshasa Motema Pembe (DR Congo) vs Zanaco (Zambia)

Group D

Sunday

  • Abidjan San Pedro (Cote d’Ivoire) vs Paradou (Algeria)
  • Agadir HUSA (Morocco) vs Enyimba (Nigeria)