Tafadzwa Rusike

Rusike fails to raise stakes in Caf Champions League

Noel Munzambwa

HE came, he saw and failed to conquer!

Thata��s the story of former Caps United and Ajax Capetown midfielder, Tafadzwa Rusike whose new paymasters, Zambian soccer giantsA� Zanaco sought to overturn a 1-2 Total CAF Champions League 2018 first leg loss to Swazi champions Mbabane Swallows last Saturday.

Zanaco arrived in Swaziland on Thursday afternoon and among the players on tour was Rusike, the second Zimbabwean in the Zambia soccer sidea��s books but defender Zimiseleni Moyo sat out the entire match on the bench due to an injury, but albeit their hunt proved futile as Swallows were unyielding.

A Wonder Nhleko 18th minute strike finished off visiting Zambian soccer giants as Mbabane Swallowsa�� 1-0 (3-1 agg).

The 2018 Total CAF Champions League win gave the dominant Swazi soccer giants their first ever group qualification before an almost packed Somhlolo National Stadium situated in Lobamba, Swaziland on Saturday afternoon.

Zanaco had come into this second leg trailing from a 1-2 home soil defeat searching for nothing less than a two goal winning margin to literally pull out a rabbit from the bag but all the resilience lasted just over a quarter of an hour as the veteran Nhleko increased the deficit.Nhleko, affectionately known as Samba Jive, ejected the home fans, almost half of them financed by SwaziBank and Swazi Mobile, for aA� celebratory jive which grew even better with each and every minute that passed on until the wildest at the sound of the final whistle. History had been made.

Swallows who last year became the first Swazi football outfit to qualify for CAF Confederations Cup group stages had carved another historic moment becoming the first local side to breach through to the CAF Champions League group stage.

Moyo said the qualification tie was lost in Zambia during the first leg. a�?We lost the tie in the first leg in Zambia making it an uphill task for us,a�? he said. Swallows have since been drawn in Group D which will see them see another Zambian challenge in Zesco, face Etoile Du Sahel of Tunisia and Angolan giants, Primeiro De Agosto, the side that knocked Zimbabwe champions FC Platinum and South African outfit, Bidvest.A� Rusike and his Zanaco will now negotiate their passage to the CAF Confederations Cup through a play off tie against Raja Club Athletic.
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*Additional report courtesy CAFOnline