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Wits return to Egypt as they continue their African odyssey

By Mark Gleeson | 2017-03-21 12:27:31.0

Bidvest Wits will be heading back to Egypt next month as they continue their African odyssey‚ this time in the African Confederation Cup rather than the Champions League.

SuperSport United have been drawn against Liberian opposition while Platinum Stars must play in the Ivory Coast in the third round of the same competition after the draw conducted at the Confederation of African Football headquarters in Cairo on Tuesday.

The aggregate winners all advance to the group phase of the Confederation Cup‚ which kicks off in May.

After the weekend aggregate defeat by Cairo giants Al Ahly‚ Wits have now dropped down to play in the continent’s secondary club competition and are one tie away from a first-ever place in the group phase.

They were drawn on Tuesday against Smouha‚ who hail from Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast‚ and sit fifth in the Egyptian premier league.

Smouha had a bye through the first round of this year’s Confederation Cup and had a real scare in the second round where they narrowly got past Ulinzi Stars from Kenya after losing 3-0 away at the weekend in the second leg.

Smouha are likely to be a much easier proposition than Al Ahly for Gavin Hunt’s team.

Two of Smouha’s imports – Patrick Malo and Banou Diawara – played for Burkina Faso in the African Nations Cup finals in Gabon earlier this year.

Wits are at home in the first leg on the weekend of April 7-9 but Platinum Stars and SuperSport have home advantage in the return leg the next weekend.

Stars drew AS Tanda of the Ivory Coast‚ who have only won three of 13 league games so far this season.

Tanda dropped down from the Champions League after losing both home and away in the previous round to Etoile Sahel of Tunisia.

Tanda won a first ever Ivorian league title in 2015 after heavy investment from a prominent businessman and retained the title last year.

Although they come from outside of the capital‚ they have been playing their African club competition games in Abidjan.

After an uncomfortable trip to Sudan earlier this month‚ there is another long journey for SuperSport to Liberia to take on Barrack Young Controllers‚ who upset Stade Malien in the first round of the Champions League but were then eliminated by Mozambique’s Ferroviario Beira on post-match penalties. - TMG Digital