Zamalek, El Merreikh Oppositions for Rangers, Rivers Utd



Femi Solaja

Nigerian league champions, Rangers International FC have been drawn to face last year’s losing finalist, Zamalek FC of Egypt in the next stage of the CAF Champions League while Rivers United FC will tackle El Merreikh FC of Sudan.

The fresh pairing also means Rangers will return to North Africa for another battle against hostile weather and crowd after scaling the JS Saoura of Algeria challenge on a superior away goal rule. Rangers were held to a scoreless draw in Enugu last Sunday but progressed because of the edge of one-all draw a week earlier away.

Rangers will travel to Cairo for the first leg match on March 10 with the return leg in Enugu on the 17th of same month.

River United, still basking in the euphoria of 4-0  hammering of AS Real Bamako of Mali  in the opening round will host El-Merreikh of Sudan the same weekend as Rangers and the return leg a week later in Khartoum.

Should both teams secure passage against their respective opponents, they will qualify into the money spinning group stage of the competition which is in league format of four teams in two groups.

Meanwhile, Rangers have received a cash boost after they advanced to the first round of this year’s CAF Champions League at the expense of Algeria’s JS Saoura.

Team Officials announced yesterday that instead of a proposed $190 per player as travel allowance to Algeria, each player will now be paid $730, while officials and coaches will be paid $1,000 each.

The players will also each receive N50,000  as match bonus for the Champions League tie.

Other pairings for the next stage of the competition include; Étoile Sportive du Sahel of Tunisia will take on Association Sportive de Tanda of Morocco while defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa will host Kampala City Council of Uganda. Ahly Tripoli of Libya will host Fath Union Sports FC.