By James Bakama
THREE of Uganda Cranes’ players who missed the friendly against Libya because of club commitments have no regrets.
Isaac Isinde, Robert Sentongo and Robert Odongkara of Ethiopian side St George and Etoile du Sahel’s Emma Okwi over the weekend helped their clubs advance to the lucrative CAF Confederations Cup group stage.
St. George became the first ever Ethiopian side to qualify for the group stages of the continental club competition despite losing to Egypt’s ENPPI in the Confederation Cup.
ENPPI won the second leg of their play-off tie 3-1 to make it 3-3 on aggregate, with the Ethiopian side advancing on the away goals rule. St George beat the Egyptians 2-0 in the first leg.
Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel progressed 4-3 on aggregate, after beating Algeria’s JSM Bejaia 2-1 in the second leg following a 2-2 in the first leg.
Etoile du Sahel and St George join Mali’s Stade Malien and Nigeria’s Enugu Rangers in Group A. Group B has Algerian champions Entente Setif, DR Congo’s TP Mazembe, FUS Rabat of Morocco and Tunisian side CA Bizertin.
Ivorian striker Vincent Die Foneye struck for ENPPI after 25 minutes into the match but Tesfaye Alebachew left the hosts with a massive task when he equalised 12 minutes later.
Die Foneye then struck twice in the last six minutes to complete his hat-trick but St George held out to eliminate the Egyptians.
The two group winners meet in the final which shall be played in two legs, home and away.
The winner earns a $625,000 (sh1.6bn) prize, runner-up $432,000 (sh1.1bn), second in each group $239,000 (sh621m), third in each group $239,000 (sh631m), fourth in each group $150,000 (sh390m).
Isinde, Odongkara and Okwi fired up