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Football: Angola hope rookie clubs can lift depression

Angola hope international club rookies Santos and Recreativo Libolo can give their football fortunes a desperately needed boost this weekend.

sports Updated: Apr 03, 2009 12:24 IST

Angola hope international club rookies Santos and Recreativo Libolo can give their football fortunes a desperately needed boost this weekend.Santos won 1-0 at USM of Gabon and Libolo triumphed by the same score at SO Armee of Ivory Coast three weeks ago in African Confederation Cup second round clashes.The return fixtrues will be played Saturday and Sunday and home advantage favours the Angolan duo, who are competing in an African Football Confederation competition for the first time.

Inexperience and complacency are threats Angolan followers do not want to consider as they seek relief from a spate of poor results by the national 'Black Antelopes' team and leading clubs Primeiro Agosto and Petro Atletico.Angola slumped 2-0 to Morocco last Tuesday following other friendly losses to Cape Verde Islands and Mali less than a year before they host the African Nations Cup.

Reaching the 2006 World Cup at the expense of powerful Nigeria and holding Mexico and Iran in Germany seem distant memories as new national coach Mabi de Almeida struggles to stop the rot.Hopes that wealthy Luanda-based domestic giants Primeiro and Petro could make an impression in the African Champions League this year proved wildly optimistic.Both are on the brink of elimination this weekend, leaving Santos and Recreativo in the second-tier Confederation Cup as the best bets for some success.

Algeria and Egypt are other countries with a realistic chance of seeing both clubs advance to the final qualifying stage of a competition modelled on the European UEFA Cup.Former African champions Entente Setif have home advantage and a 1-0 lead over Khaleej Sirt of Libya while fellow Algerians JSM Bejaia confront Yakaar having forced a 1-1 stalemate in Senegal.Petroleum company club ENPPI host CAPS United of Zimbabwe in Cairo and paramilitary outfit Harras al-Hodoud entertain APR of Rwanda confident of completing an Egyptian 'double' following goalless draws on the road.

CS Sfaxien of Tunisia are seeking a record third consecutive title and a 4-1 home victory against Al-Ahly Benghazi of Libya virtually assures they will be among the 16 survivors.But compatriots Stade Tunisien, making a rare African appearance, are in trouble having being held 0-0 at home by regular African campaigners Stade Malien of Mali.