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Fri Apr 25 02:00:06 SAST 2014

SA interest looms in UEFA Champions League

NICK SAID | 20 July, 2012 06:210 Comments
May Mahlangu of Helsingborgs IF
Image by: Andreas Hillergren / EuroFootball/Getty Images

THE draw for the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League will take place Friday with more South African interest in the competition looming.

Dutch giants Feyenoord, who have South African junior international Kamohelo Mokotjo on their books, enter in this stage, but will be one of the unseeded teams in the draw.

That means they could come up against the likes of Turkish side Fenerbahce, Belgian champions Anderlecht, or face a tough away trip to Dinamo Kiev in Ukraine.

Other South Africans who will be keeping a keen eye on the draw are Helsingborg’s May Mahlangu, whose side must get past Welsh minnows TNS first, having drawn the first leg of their second round clash away.

Johannesburg-born Ricardo Nunes will hope his Slovakian side Zilini can hold on to the 1-0 home success they enjoyed against Israeli outfit Ironi Kiryat Shmona, while young goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse and his Irish team Shamrock Rovers side are at 0-0 after the home leg of their clash with Lithuanian team Ekranas.

The winners of the third qualifying round move on to a play- off stage, where they will compete for a place in the lucrative group stages of the competition.

Also being drawn today is the third round qualifying for the UEFA Europa League, which sees some of the giants of European football in the hat.

Inter Milan, Liverpool and Marseille will be three sides to avoid, and there will be a host of South Africans keen to do so.

Bongani Khumalo’s Greek side PAOK enter at this stage and along with those three teams will be among the seeded teams, meaning they cannot be drawn against them.

The same rings true for Anele Ngcongca’s Belgian outfit Genk, and the trio of South Africans at Portuguese side Maritimo — Sergio Marakis, Miguel Rodrigues and Brad Wexler.

Dino Ndlovu is unlikely to still be with Israeli team Bnei Yehuda past their second round clash with Armenian team Shirak with Maccabi Haifa set to pounce in a R15-million deal.

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SA interest looms in UEFA Champions League

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