Who are the danger clubs for Sundowns and Pirates in Friday's Champions League?

Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns will be South Africa two representatives in the Caf Champions League group stages.
Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns will be South Africa two representatives in the Caf Champions League group stages.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates will learn their fate when the draw is made for the Caf Champions League group phase in Cairo on Friday as the 16 remaining sides are placed in four pools containing four sides each.

Both sides have been finalists in Africa’s elite club competition in the last five years‚ but there will be plenty of pitfalls in the draw and teams they will want to avoid.

Having said that‚ with the top two sides in each pool advancing to the quarterfinals‚ there is not a club in the draw that will fancy taking on either Sundowns or Pirates‚ who have the squads to go all the way in this year’s competition.

Although the Confederation of African Football (Caf) have yet to officially announce the seeds for the draw‚ Sundowns are expected to be in Pot 2 and Pirates in Pot 3.

We give you a quick rundown of the teams they could face:

First seeds (expected)

TP Mazembe (DR Conggo)

Powerful side from Lubumbashi who won the 2015 Champions League under Patrice Carteron and claimed the Confederation Cup in 2017.

They also won the elite competition in 2009 and 2010‚ and have five victories in all.

Al Ahly (Egypt)

Africa’s most successful club who won the last of their record eight Champions League titles in 2013 and were beaten finalists in this year's tournament after a surprise loss to Esperance.

They have recently appointed Uruguayan coach Martin Lasarte to replace Carteron‚ who was sacked after their final loss.

Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) 

The 2017 champions are back again and will be looking to improve on their quarterfinal exit this year.

Not a free-flowing side‚ but one that are difficult break down.

Esperance (Tunisia) 

The current champions showed skill and no shortage of guts to lift the title in 2018‚ showing themselves to be a team with plenty of goals in them but perhaps also a little vulnerable at the back.

They will be huge contenders again.

Second seeds

AS Vita Club (DR Congo) 

The current DR Congo champions were runners up in the Confederation Cup in 2018 under long-time coach Florent Ibengé as they lost out to Raja Casablanca from Morocco.

They hail from Kinshasa and are looking to topple TP Mazembe as DR Congo’s top side.

Horoya FC (Guinea) 

The team that ultimately scuppered Sundowns’ passage into the knockout rounds in 2018‚ but really one with limited threat.

This should be considered a good draw for Pirates.

Club Africain (Tunisia)

The runners-up in the Tunisian league last season‚ Club Africain are going through a quiet period in their history‚ though they did win the Tunisian Cup in 2018.

Typically well-organised and difficult to break down‚ they will present a challenge.

Third seeds

Asec Mimosas (Ivory Coast)

Asec have won the Ivorian league for the last two years‚ taking their total number of championships to a record 26.

Though not as powerful as they once were (the club went 108 domestic league and cup games unbeaten between 1989 and 1994)‚ they will make for a difficult opponent.

CS Contantine (Algeria)

The current Algerian champions may be little known across the continent but have made a huge impact on the domestic front in the last 12 months.

They will be appearing in the group stages of a Caf competition for the first time in what is just their fourth appearance.

Ismaily (Egypt)

Ismaily finished as runners-up in the Egyptian Premier League last season‚ and are appearing in the group stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009.

They are coached by the Macedonian Čedomir Janevski‚ who has previously worked in Belgium and Greece.

Fourth seeds

JS Saoura (Algeria) 

A relatively new entrant into Algerian football who were founded in 2008‚ Saoura have finished runners-up in the league in two of the last three seasons having only been promoted to the top-flight in 2012.

They debuted in the Champions League in 2017 but went out in the preliminary round.

Lobi Stars (Nigeria)

The current Nigeria Premier League champions last appeared in the group stages of the Champions League in 2000‚ which was also their only other previous appearance in the competition.

They are a team once coached by ex-Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates tactician Kosta Papic.

Simba SC (Tanzania)

Tanzanian champions Simba were last in the group stages of the Champions League in 2003 but have been regulars in the Confederation Cup in recent years without much success.

They are coached by the Belgian tactician Patrick Aussems.

FC Platinum (Zimbabwe) 

The Zimbabwe champions from the last two seasons‚ who are coached by Norman Mapeza‚ have reached the group stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history‚ having lost out in the preliminary round in 2018.

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