Sport News

Sundowns and Orlando Pirates discover Champions League foes

The draw for the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League has been made with South African entrants Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates learning who they will face.

Sundowns take on AS Otoho d’Oyo of Congo-Brazzaville while Pirates need to get past Green Eagles of Zambia.

The clubs return to the competition for successive seasons having ended as Champions and runners-up respectively in the last two Absa Premiership seasons.

Sundowns made it all the way to the semi-finals of last season’s competition until being beaten on aggregate by Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Orlando Pirates finished in third place in Group B behind Esperance of Tunisia and Horoya FC of Guinea, failing to progress to the playoff stages.

The Caf Champions League tournament uses two rounds of qualifying matches to determine the 16 clubs that will compete in the group stage. The top two clubs from each group progress to quarter-finals. The quarter-finals and semi-finals are played over two legs and make use of the away goals rule.

Sundowns opponents

Like Sundowns, AS Otoho have won their domestic league for the last two seasons. They claimed the title by a comfortable ten-point margin from second place Étoile du Congo, the Congo Ligue 1’s most successful side.

B19DWSS0326 - Sundowns and Orlando Pirates discover Champions League foes
Hlompho Kekana celebrates goal with Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa United at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria on 23 April 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Otoho progressed through the preliminary round in the 2018/19 season, beating Angolan club Clube Desportivo 1º de Agosto on away goals. Otoho’s campaign ended in the first round where they were knocked out by Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum also on the away goals rule.

Last year Sundowns breezed past Equatoguinean side Leones Vegetarianos in the preliminary round, trouncing them 7-1 on aggregate.

Fomboni FC from Comoros or Cote d’Or FC from Seychelles await Masandawana in the first round proper, but only if they can get past Otoho.

Pirates opponents

Green Eagles finished second in the 2018/19 Zambia Super League behind a rampant Zesco United.

This will be the first time Green Eagles compete in the Champions League having spent much of their existence locked in relegation battles before an upturn in fortunes began two seasons ago. Eagles qualified for the Confederations Cup last season and continued to improve ending as runners-up to Zambian super club Zesco.

An ambitious and dangerous club, Pirates would do well not to underestimate their Zambian foes. Given the strong Zambian influence in the Buccaneers squad this match should be an intriguing contest.

Last season Pirates blitzed Light Stars of Seychelles in the preliminary round winning the first leg 5-1 at home before running out 3-1 winners on a jaunt to the islands. The First Round gave Pirates more trouble as they played out a goalless draw with African Stars of Namibia at home before a Justin Shonga strike separated the sides in Windhoek.

Pirates or Eagles will face the winner of the clash between Zanzibar’s KMKM and Desportivo de Agosto.

Caf Champions League fixture dates

The Preliminary Round first leg fixtures will take place between 9 and 11 August 2019, the second leg between 23 and 25 August 2019. The First Round first leg fixtures are set to take place between 13 and 15 September 2019 and the second leg between 25 and 27 September.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *