Africa awaits mouth-watering clashes across the continent

Walid Azaro of Al Ahly protests a decision EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

The line-up is just about complete for the First Round of the 2018 CAF Champions League, where sides will battle it out for a place in the group stages of the continent's premier club competition.

Only the tie between Zambian side Zanaco and Gambia's Armed Forces is outstanding and will be played on Saturday, but the Southern Africans look a good bet with a healthy 3-0 lead from the first leg at home.

The winner of that tie will take on Swaziland champions Mbabane Swallows in the next round, and will certainly fancy their chances of advancing to the extended 16-team group stage.

Other second round match-ups to look out for include defending champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco at home to Ivorians Williamsville AC, who stunned Stade Malien in the last round.

The 2016 winners Mamelodi Sundowns take on Rayon Sports of Rwanda and should advance, while South African champions Bidvest Wits have an altogether more difficult tie against Angolan outfit Primeiro de Agosto.

Confederation Cup holders Tout Puissant Mazembe should get past União Desportiva do Songo of Mozambique, but the tie between Zambians Zesco United and ASEC Mimosas is more difficult to predict.

Two Nigerian sides have made it to the second stage, but both face daunting tasks to get any further.

Plateau United take on Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel, who will be favourites, while new boys Mountain of Fire and Miracles battle Algerian club MC Alger after they dispatched AS Real Bamako in the last round.

Egyptian giants Al Ahly are among the favourites for the title any season and should get past Gabonese side CF Mounana, while plucky Township Rollers of Botswana, who stunned Sudan's Al-Merrikh in the previous stage, tackle Young Africans from Tanzania.

It would be a major boost to either of those clubs to make the group stage this season.

There are some big names still competing in the CAF Confederation Cup as well, including Egyptian side SC Zamalek, who should advance past Welayta Dicha of Ethiopia.

Likewise Moroccans Raja Casablanca, who take on FC Nouadhibou from Mauritania, while Tunisians Club Africain have a more challenging tussle with RS Berkane of Morocco.

There are a pair of Nigerian clubs still in contention as Enyimba take on Energie FC from Benin and Akwa United meet Libya's Al-Ittihad Tripoli, although the away leg is likely to be staged in Tunisia.

South African sides SuperSport United and Cape Town City face Petro de Luanda (Angola) and Costa do Sol (Mozambique) respectively, while Zambians Nkana have a difficult tie against CR Belouizdad from Algeria.

Teams who advance from this round of the competition have one more hurdle before the group stages when they take on the 16 losing sides from the Champions League second round.

Ties in the second stage of both competitions will be played midweek on March 6-7 and on the weekend of March 16-18.


Saint George (Ethiopia) vs. KCCA (Uganda)

Zanaco (Zambia)/Armed Forces (Gambia) vs. Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland)

Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) vs. Williamsville AC (Ivory Coast)

Aduana Stars (Ghana) vs. ES Sétif (Algeria)

Al-Ahly (Egypt) vs. CF Mounana (Gabon)

MFM (Nigeria) vs. MC Alger (Algeria)

Horoya (GUinea) vs. Génération Foot (Senegal)

Young Africans (Tanzania) vs. Township Rollers (Botswana)

Gor Mahia (Kenya) vs. Espérance de Tunis (Tunisia)

Étoile du Sahel (Tunisia) vs. Plateau United (Nigeria)

AS Togo-Port (Togo) vs. Al-Hilal (Sudan)

ZESCO United (Zambia) vs. ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)

TP Mazembe (DR Congo) vs. UD Songo (Mozambique)

Difaâ El Jadidi (Morocco) vs. AS Vita Club (DR Congo)

Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) vs. Bidvest Wits (South Africa)

Rayon Sports (Rwanda) vs. Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)


Petro de Luanda (Angola) vs. SuperSport United (South Africa)

Costa do Sol (Mozambique) vs. Cape Town City (South Africa)

Energie (Benin) vs. Enyimba (Nigeria)

Djoliba (Mali) vs. APR (Rwanda)

AS Port-Louis 2000 (Mauritius) vs. Fosa Juniors (Madagascar)

AS Maniema Union (DR Congo) vs. USM Alger (Algeria)

Olympique Star (Burundi) vs. Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid (Sudan)

DC Motema Pembe (DR Congo) vs. Deportivo Niefang (Equatorial Guinea)

CS La Mancha (Congo-Brazzaville) vs. Al-Ahly Shendi (Sudan)

Al-Ittihad Tripoli (Libya) vs. Akwa United (Nigeria)

CARA Brazzaville (Congo-Brazzaville) vs. US Ben Guerdane (Tunisia)

CR Belouizdad (Algeria) vs. Nkana (Zambia)

Simba (Tanzania) vs. Al-Masry (Egypt)

RS Berkane (Morocco) vs. Club Africain (Tunisia)

Raja Casablanca (Morocco) vs. FC Nouadhibou (Mauritania)

Welayta Dicha (Ethiopia) vs. Zamalek (Egypt)