Triangle get Mauritanian outsiders

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
TRIANGLE coach, Taurai Mangwiro, had every reason to keep believing after they managed to evade giants of continental football in yesterday’s CAF Confederation Cup group stage play-off draw.

The Lowveld side was paired with little-known Mauritanian side, FC Nouadhibou, in the draw conducted in Cairo last night.

Triangle will begin their campaign away on October 27 before returning home for the decisive second leg on October 3.

The winner of the two-legged fixture will progress to the group stage.

Mangwiro last night said he needed time to visit the archives to research more on their Mauritanian opponents.

FC Nouadhibou were one of the 16 teams that crashed from the Champions League and dropped into the second tier competition.

Also in the draw were the likes of Asante Kotoko of Ghana, Nigerians Enyimba, Horoya of Guinea, Gor Mahia (Kenya) and Young Africans of Tanzania.

“To be honest with you, I don’t know much about this team,’’ said Mangwiro.

“So, it calls for us to go and try to find out more about them.

“What we know is they are champions of Mauritania and that they have played in the Champions League a couple of times.

“The fact that they are coming from the Champions League should tell us that they are not to be taken lightly.”

Triangle are taking part in the CAF interclub competitions for the first time in their history.

So far, they have managed to raise the country’s flag high with spirited performances both home and away.

The Sugar Sugar Boys have enjoyed a fine run which saw them humiliate rank outsiders Rukinzo of Burundi 5-0 on aggregate in the preliminary round.

They then beat perennial campaigners Azam of Tanzania 2-0 after the two legs in the first round.

They now need to negotiate their last barrier against the North Africans to secure a group phase berth.

“I think we have done fairly well in the preliminary rounds. But we have to remain focused, we don’t have to be carried away because we haven’t achieved anything yet,’’ said Mangwiro.

“If anything, we would still need to fight.

“I would like to believe the teams we played in the preliminary rounds are weaker compared to the ones we are facing now.

“But also I believe we came up against some perennial campaigners, teams with a bigger profile like Azam of Tanzania, and we prevailed.

“That should spur us on.”

Nouadhibhou are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and will look back on their journey with satisfaction after winning seven league titles in two decades of existence.

Their first appearance at a continental competition was in 2003 when they took on Niger’s AS Niamey in the preliminary round but lost on away goals rule after a 2-2 stalemate in the two legs.

Their second and recent appearance was in 2014 and they faced Guinea’s Horoya AC and lost 1-4 aggregate.

They had drawn the first leg 1-1 before losing the second match 0–3.