Sundowns get champions Casablanca in Group C
Mamelodi Sundowns will open their African Champions League group stage campaign against holders Wydad Casablanca from Morocco, the team that ousted them from last season’s competition.
Sundowns were drawn in Group C on Wednesday night, with AS Togo-Port (Togo) and Horoya (Guinea) making up the remainder of the pool.
The draw was also made for the play-off round in the Confederation Cup, with both South African sides handed tricky draws.
BidVest Wits must take on Nigerian side Enyimba, while SuperSport United clash with Gor Mahia of Kenya.
Sundowns will host Wydad in Pretoria on May 4-6 in the first game of their Champions League group, before travelling away to Horoya the following week, all in between the final round of matches in the Absa Premiership and just days before a potential Nedbank Cup final on May 19.
They will be away again in their third match at AS Togo Port on July 17-19, before they host the same opponents 10 days later.
They will then travel to Wydad on August 17-19 and finish pool play at home to Horoyo on August 28-30.
The top two sides in each pool advance to the quarterfinals.
Wits will host Enyimba in the first leg of their tie, another difficult clash for coach Gavin Hunt at what will be a crucial time of the season as The Clever Boys push for a top eight spot.
Enyimba are two-time winners of the Champions League and will present a mighty challenge to Wits.
They have former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Fatau Dauda in their ranks and have provided a regular supply of players to European leagues.
Sundowns clashed with Enyimba in the pool stages of the Champions League on their way to lifting the title in 2006. Sundowns won 2-1 at home and then lost 3-1 away with a second-string side.
Pirates also met them in the pool stages in 2006, drawing 1-1 in Nigeria and winning 1-0 at home, while Ajax Cape Town were their opponents the year before in the pool stages, drawing 1-1 at home and losing 2-0 away.
SuperSport United are away at Gor Mahia in the first leg of their clash, a tie they will expect to win against a difficult but beatable opponent.
The Kenyans have only met South African opposition once before, all the way back in 1993 when they tackled Hellenic. The tie ended 3-3 with the East Africans claiming victory on the away goals rule.
The winners of the ties will advance to the pool stages of the Confederation Cup this year. Matches will be played April 6-8 and April 17-18.
AFRICAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGES
Group A: Al-Ahly (Egypt), Township Rollers (Botswana), KCCA (Uganda), Esperance (Tunisia)
Group B: TP Mazembe (DR Congo), MC Alger (Algeria), Difaâ El Jadidi (Morocco), ES Sétif (Algeria)
Group C: AS Togo-Port (Togo), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), Wydad Casablanca (Morocco), Horoya (Guinea)
Group D: ZESCO United (Zambia), Primeiro de Agosto (Angola), Étoile du Sahel (Tunisia), Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland)
AFRICAN CONFEDERATION CUP PLAYOFF ROUND
Zanaco (Zambia) vs Raja Casablanca (Morocco)
AS Vita Club (DR Congo) vs CS La Mancha (Congo-Brazzaville)
Saint George (Ethiopia) vs CARA Brazzaville (Congo-Brazzaville)
Al-Hilal (Sudan) vs Akwa United (Nigeria)
Gor Mahia (Kenya) vs SuperSport United (South Africa)
UD Songo (Mozambique) vs Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid (Sudan)
Plateau United (Nigeria) vs USM Alger (Algeria)
BidVest Wits (South Africa) vs Enyimba (Nigeria)
Aduana Stars (Ghana) vs Fosa Juniors (Madagascar)
Young Africans (Tanzania) vs Welayta Dicha (Ethiopia)
Génération Foot (Senegal) vs RS Berkane (Morocco)
CF Mounana (Gabon) vs Al-Masry (Egypt)
ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast) vs CR Belouizdad (Algeria)
Williamsville AC (Ivory Coast) vs Deportivo Niefang (Equatorial Guinea)
MFM FC (Nigeria) vs Djoliba (Mali)
Rayon Sports (Rwanda) vs Costa do Sol (Mozambique)
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