Kaizer Chiefs‚ Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns handed tough Caf draws
Orlando Pirates have drawn holders Esperance and Mamelodi Sundowns have also been handed a tough task after the draw was made for the African Champions League pool stages in Cairo on Friday.
Kaizer Chiefs also learned their fate in the African Confederation Cup play-off round when they were paired with Zambian side Zesco United‚ a tough passage for the Amakhosi into the group stages in that competition.
Pirates will be able to test themselves against the current champions of Africa’s elite competition‚ but should not fear the other two teams in their Group B.
They are joined by Zimbabwe champions FC Platinum and Horoya FC from Guinea‚ who Sundowns faced in the pool stages last year and drew both games‚ even though they had more than enough chances to win.
It is about as good a draw as Pirates could have expected and they will be quietly confident of advancing to the quarterfinal as they begin away at FC Platinum next month.
It is an altogether different story for Sundowns though after they drew their nemesis and winners from 2017‚ Wydad Casablanca of Morocco‚ Ivorian side Asec Mimosas and Nigerian champions Lobi Stars.
That will be two tough trips to west Africa and one to the north‚ though at least their fixture against Wydad will see them in familiar territory.
Group C contains 2015 winners TP Mazembe (DR Congo)‚ Club Africain (Tunisia)‚ CS Constantine (Algeria) and Ismaily (Egypt)‚ while Group D features Al Ahly (Egypt)‚ Simba SC (Tanzania)‚ JS Saoura (Algeria) and AS Vita Club (DR Congo).
Only the top two teams in each pool advance to the quarterfinals‚ with the first set of matches to be played on January 11-13 and the pools to be completed on march 15-17.
Chiefs have been drawn against Zambia side Zesco in the play-off round for the Confederation Cup in what will be a tough encounter that sees them host the second leg.
Zesco play at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola and have won the Zambian championship for the last two years‚ also making the semifinals of the Champions League in 2016 when Sundowns ousted them on the way to the title.
They also made the pool stages of the elite competition last year and were Confederation Cup quarterfinalists in 2017‚ showing their pedigree on the continent.
The first legs will be played on the January 11-13 and the return legs will be staged the following week‚ with the winners of these toes advancing to the pool stages along with already qualified Etoile du Sahel from Tunisia.
Caf Champions League draw:
Lobi Stars (Nigeria)
Wydad Casablanca (Morocco)
Asec Mimosas (Ivory Coast)
Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
FC Platinum (Zimbabwe)
Horoya AC (Guinea)
Orlando Pirates (South Africa)
TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
Club Africain (Tunisia)
CS Constantine (Algeria)
Al Ahly (Egypt)
Simba SC (Tanzania)
JS Saoura (Algeria)
AS Vita Club (DR Congo)
Caf Confederation Cup play-off draw:
Gor Mahia (Kenya) vs New Stars of Douala (Cameroon)
Al Ahli Benghazi (Libya) vs NA Hussein Dey (Algeria)
Al Hilal (Sudan) vs Mukura Victory Sports (Rwanda)
Nkana FC (Zambia) vs FC San Pedro (Ivory Coast)
Coton Sport (Cameroon) vs Asante Kotoko (Ghana)
Zesco United (Zambia) vs Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa)
Stade Malien (Mali) vs Petro Atletico (Angola)
Raja Casablanca (Morocco) vs African Stars (Namibia)
RS Berkane (Morocco) vs ASC Diaraf (Senegal)
CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) vs Vipers FC (Uganda)
Zamalek (Egypt) vs IR Tanger (Morocco)
KCCA (Uganda) vs AS Otoho D’Oyo (Congo)
Bantu FC (Lesotho) vs Enugu Rangers (Nigeria)
Al Nasr (Libya) vs Salitas FC (Burkina Faso)
Jimaa Aba Jifar (Ethiopia) vs Hassania Agadir (Morocco)
*Etoile du Sahel qualify automatically for the group stages