By Sulayman Bah
Gambian champions Ports Authority Football Club’s opponents have been revealed in balloting done this week.
Ports –who last weekend got leapfrogged from the league’s summit – face Sewe Sport De San-Pedro in the preliminary round of the Orange-sponsored Caf Champions League.
The first-leg kick-offs in Banjul with the venue expected to be either the Independence Stadium or the Box Bar mini-stadium. Both sides will have to choose to play the fixture either 10, 11 or 12th February next year with the second-leg billed for 17 or 18 February.
Ports secured a spot in the continent’s biggest inter-club competition after clinching the Gambian Premier league last season for the first time in six years.
The Ferry Boys, under gaffer Alagie Sarr, have bolstered their setup with the acquisition of five players including former MSK Zilina left-back Alieu Ceesay and George Cole who’ve had experience playing in the Europa League while signed to European clubs.
Ports will be the sole outfit representing Gambia following the withdrawal of FA Cup holders Brikama United from the Confederation Cup owing to financial reasons.
Sewe are a side based in San-Pedro and have won the Ivorian premier league thrice, the latest been in 2014. They finished second best the previous campaign, four points behind champions Tanda, hence their qualification to the Caf Champions league preliminaries.
Boasting two foreign-based players; one being Joseph Kameni from Cameroon with striker Ocansey Mandela being the other from Burkina Faso, Sewe have quality experience in Caf competitions and were Confederation Cup runners-up in 2014.
No Gambian side has ever gone beyond the preliminaries of both the Caf Champions league and Confederation Cup.
The Gambian outfit have a chequered past with Ivorian teams. ES Bengaville were the last Ivorian team to beat Ports in 2008. That GPA side comprised the Abdourahman Damphas, Sanna Nyassis and Pa Malick Joofs then coached by Luke.
Eight years to that defeat, gaffer Alagie Sarr would be looking to tear apart that dogging jinx but against a tough side in Sewe who also won the Ivorian Cup this year.
They sit currently joint-fourth in the Ivorian top tier on seven points in five games, losing twice already.