By OKELLO ALLAN
CONGO KINSHASA [SHIFTMEDIA] It didn’t come as a surprise, the writing was on the wall, that the TP Mazambe coach was headed home after the Uganda’s Vipers Sports Club ejected them out of this year’s CAF Confederation Group Stages.
Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe sacked French coach Franck Dumas on Saturday after a shock home loss to Ugandan side Vipers in a CAF Champions League qualifier.
The second leg of the last 32 tie in Lubumbashi finished 0-0 — as did the first encounter in Kampala last weekend — and the visitors won 4-2 on penalties.
Vipers will participate in the group phase of the premier African football competition for the first time from February while Mazembe are relegated to the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup.
A Mazembe official told AFP that Dumas, 54, had been “dismissed” after the five-time African champions failed to reach the lucrative mini-league stage for the second straight season.
After a playing career as a defender in France and England, Dumas coached in his homeland, Morocco, Equatorial Guinea and Algeria before joining Mazembe last year.
Losing to Vipers is a huge financial blow to a club that last won the competition in 2015 and were the first African team to qualify for the Club World Cup final, 12 years ago.
Reaching the Champions League group phase would have guaranteed Mazembe at least $550,000 (565,000 euros).
Now they must win a two-leg play-off in November against a Confederation Cup last 32 winner to reach the mini-league stage of that competition, where the prize money is considerably less.
Tunisia’s Esperance Advances
Elsewhere, a disputed penalty gave four-time champions Esperance of Tunisia a 1-0 win over Plateau United of Nigeria and overall success on away goals after a 2-1 first leg loss.
Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane fired the spot kick past goalkeeper Suraj Aiyeleso after Plateau protested that the foul which led to the spot-kick occurred outside the box.
Record 10-time Champions League winners Al Ahly won their first tie under recently appointed Swiss coach Marcel Koller by defeating US Monastir of Tunisia 3-0 for a four-goal overall win.
Koller, who took charge of the Cairo Red Devils after South African Pitso Mosimane quit citing stress, saw Ahmed Abdelkader open the scoring and Hamdy Fathy bag a brace.
Al Merrikh of Sudan survived a brave fightback by Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya to progress on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate stalemate.
The Sudanese won the first leg 2-0 and stretched their overall lead to three goals when Ramadan Agab netted midway through the first half in Benghazi.
But the Libyans recovered to score twice before half-time and again with nine minutes left to lead 3-1 before missing a penalty that would have put them ahead on aggregate.
Former champions Raja Casablanca of Morocco and 10-man JS Kabylie of Algeria also secured places in the group stage, and a further five clubs will qualify on Sunday.