Amajita faces second last hurdle

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Twenty-eight teams will battle each other for a place in the second round, which will see seven teams joining hosts Rwanda for the finals.

South Africa’s Amajita face Indian Ocean islanders Reunion in Pretoria at the weekend while reigning Africa Champions, Congo begin the defence of their title with a dicey home duel against neighbours and rivals, DR Congo in Brazzaville.

The Congolese stunned everyone to win the African title on home soil last year and must produce a convincing result to prove that their annexing of the title was no fluke.

The clash will also afford the Congolese to avenge for the senior colleagues, who were shown the exit by the DR Congo in the newly created African Nation Championship qualifiers.

In Banjul, the Scorpions of Gambia will face a Mauritania side who has set their sights high after brushing past highly rated Algeria in one of the shockers of the preliminaries.

Mauritania beat Algeria 1-0 on aggregate and the Scorpions, an emerging force in youth football can only underrate them at their own peril.

Tunisia will play host to Mali while Morocco will be away in Cotonou as guests of Benin.

At the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra, the Black Satellites of Ghana will engage their Angolan counterparts in a game that Coach Sellas Tetteh will be using to make a claim for the Black Stars job in the not too distant future.

Tetteh, drafted onto the Black Stars Technical Directorship position following the departure of French trainer Claude Le Roy, managed nine out of a possible twelve during the first round of the 2010 World Cup/African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The Ghanaian team to be led by Andre Ayew, son of African football legend Abedi Pele includes five other foreign-based namely Ishmael Yartey (Benefica, Portugal), Daniel Opare (Real Madrid, Spain), Sadick Adams (Atletico Madrid, Spain) and France-based duo, Enoch Adu Kofi and Abeiku Quansah, and look poised for a bright start to their campaign.

Kenya will face Sudan in Nairobi while Egypt comes up against the Young Warriors of Zimbabwe.

In other clashes, Guinea will trek Ouagadougou as guests of Burkina Faso, while Ivory Coast battles Guinea in Abidjan.

Elsewhere in Abeokuta, the Flying Eagles of Nigeria will battle it out with their counterparts from Senegal.

Assistant coach Benedict Iroha has said he believes the team which consists of members of the victorious Golden Eaglets side that won gold at the World U-17 championship in Korea in 2007 has what it takes to conquer the Africa and the world once again.

“The boys are ready to go as they are responding positively to the training exercise,” said Iroha, a former Super Eagles left back.

The Young Chipolopolos of Zambia will face Mauritius in an all Southern Africa affair while Gabon will be at home to Botswana just as Cameroon against Burundi.

The second leg matches has been scheduled for July 11-13.

The winners after both legs qualify for the final round of the championships to be held in Rwanda from January 18 to February 1, 2009.

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