Belaïli and Raja: An Affordable Option, Mazembe May Face a Familiar Opponent!

Belaïli and Raja: An Affordable Option, Mazembe May Face a Familiar Opponent!

CAF Champions League Draw Announced for 2024-2025 Season

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has unveiled the draw for the first two rounds of the 2024-2025 CAF Champions League, following the earlier draw for the CAF Confederation Cup. This announcement, which took place on Thursday, sets the stage for a competition featuring 59 clubs across 47 countries.

Despite their recent national titles, Raja Casablanca from Morocco and MC Alger from Algeria, which boast Patrice Beaumelle and Youcef Belaïli respectively, were not seeded. Raja Casablanca is set to face AS Garde Nationale of Niger in the first round. Should they advance, they will potentially clash with either Ghana’s FC Samartex or Victoria United from Cameroon. Victoria United’s involvement comes amidst allegations of match-fixing and alleged support from Samuel Eto’o, with Nathan Douala being a notable player on their roster.

MC Alger is scheduled to play against Watanga FC from Liberia in their initial match. A win would see them face either Tunisia’s US Monastir or AS PSI from Chad in the next round.

Defending Champions and Other Top Contenders

Exempt from the opening round, defending champions Al Ahly, who hold a record number of titles, will remain unfazed in the second round as they face Kenya’s Gor Mahia or Al Merreikh Juba. Meanwhile, last season’s finalists, Espérance Tunis, need to be cautious if they meet AS Arta/Solar7 from Djibouti. This ambitious team, featuring Alain Traoré, previously defeated Egypt’s Zamalek. TP Mazembe, having reached the semi-finals last season, will confront either Nyasa Big Bullets from Malawi or Zambia’s Red Arrows, both of whom are familiar rivals.

Challenges for Other Teams

CR Bélouizdad from Algeria, despite a disappointing season, will need to be wary of AC Léopards from Congo in the first round. Similarly, AS FAR Rabat, the dethroned champions of Morocco, may encounter Sudan’s El Merreikh in the second round. San Pedro from Côte d’Ivoire faces a tough path with potential matches against Sudan’s Al-Hilal, led by Florent Ibenge.

Meanwhile, FC Nouadhibou of Mauritania, which surprised many in the previous group stage, will first challenge Guinea’s Milo FC. Success here could lead them to face either Stade d’Abidjan or Senegal’s Teungueth, the latter of which was a notable surprise in the 2021/22 edition.

To recap, the 16 teams that emerge victorious from the second round will advance to the group stage of the CAF Champions League. The schedule for the first legs of the first round is set from August 16 to 18, with return legs from August 23 to 25. The second round first legs will occur from September 13 to 15, followed by return legs from September 20 to 22.

[Detailed fixture listings for the first two rounds of the CAF Champions League 2024-2025]

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