Date changes offer relief to PSL clubs competing in CAF competitions

Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United.
Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United.
Image: BackpagePix

A change in the dates for the 2018 African club competitions mean that South African clubs reaching the group phase will be spared having to give up their off-season holidays and pre-season preparations.

The last two years of competition in both the African Champions League and African Confederation Cup have seen group phase matches played in May‚ June and July‚ depriving the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United of a mid-year break and a proper pre-season build-up.

But the dates for the 2018 competitions‚ sent by the Confederation of African Football this week‚ have been changed‚ primarily because of the World Cup in Russia in mid-year but also because of a cacophony of complaints‚ not necessarily from the South African teams but rather the powerful clubs in Egypt‚ Morocco and Tunisia‚ who suffered the same fate.

Bidvest Wits‚ Sundowns(Champions League)‚ Cape Town City and SuperSport United (Confederation Cup) represent South Africa next year and must first get through the preliminary knockout rounds if they are to get to the group phase.

There are two early knockout rounds in the Champions League and three in the Confederation Cup before each competition is left with 16 clubs‚ divided into four groups of four.

This year Sundowns made it through to the group phase of the Champions League and both SuperSport and Platinum Stars to the Confederation Cup.

It is only in the last 16 that prize money is available and it will be the minimum ambition of the South African clubs to qualify for the group phase.

The early round are in February and March and group competition starts in early May with a single round‚ followed by a two month break‚ before resuming in late July.

The new-look dates will come as music to the ears of coaches like Pitso Mosimane and Eric Tinkler‚ previously forced to forego much need rest and preparation and condemned to a grueling schedule with eventual negative consequences for their teams. 2018 Dates

AFRICAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE:

First round‚ first leg – February 9-11

First round‚ second leg – February 16-18

Second round‚ first leg – March 9-11

Second round‚ second leg – March 16-18

Group phase match day one – May 4-6

Group phase match day two – July 27-29

Group phase match day three – August 10-12

Group phase match day four - August 24-26

Group phase match day five – August 31‚ September 1-2

Group phase match day six – September 14-16

Quarterfinal‚ first leg – September 28-30

Quarterfinal‚ second leg – October 5-7

Semifinal‚ first leg – October 19-21

Semifinal‚ second leg - October 26-28

Final‚ first leg – November 2-4

Final‚ second leg – November 9-11 AFRICAN CONFEDERATION CUP

First round‚ first leg – February 9-11

First round‚ second leg – February 16-18

Second round‚ first leg – March 9-11

Second round‚ second leg – March 16-18

Third round‚ first leg – April 6-8

Third round‚ second leg – April 13-15

Group phase match day one – May 4-6

Group phase match day two – July 27-29

Group phase match day three – August 10-12

Group phase match day four - August 24-26

Group phase match day five – August 31‚ September 1-2

Group phase match day six – September 14-16

Quarterfinal‚ first leg – September 28-30

Quarterfinal‚ second leg – October 5-7

Semifinal‚ first leg – October 19-21

Semifinal‚ second leg - October 26-28

Final‚ first leg – November 23-25

Final‚ second leg – November 30‚ December 1-2

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