African News 26.4.2017 05:01 pm

Sundowns, Vita Club resume Champions League rivalry

Themba Zwane of Sundowns and Wango Mbambu of Vita during the CAF Champions League match between Mamelodi Sundowns and AS Vita Club at Lucas Moripe Stadium on April 20, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Themba Zwane of Sundowns and Wango Mbambu of Vita during the CAF Champions League match between Mamelodi Sundowns and AS Vita Club at Lucas Moripe Stadium on April 20, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa will tackle Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the second successive season in the Caf Champions League.

After clashing in a qualifier last year, the clubs were brought together again when the group draw was made in Cairo on Wednesday.

The Kinshasa outfit triumphed on away goals in the 2016 season only to be kicked out of the premier African club competition for fielding a suspended player.

Sundowns took full advantage of a second chance by going on to defeat Zamalek of Egypt in the final and lift the trophy for the first time.

V Club won the competition in 1973 when it was called the African Cup of Champions Clubs, had an exclusively two-leg format and offered no prize money.

Another former winner of the competition, Esperance of Tunisia, and impressive qualifiers Saint George of Ethiopia complete Group C.

The “Saints” won all four qualifiers, scoring eight goals and conceding none, and boast the leading Champions League scorer this season in five-goal Saladin Said.

Sundowns host Saint George in matchday 1 during May and coach Pitso Mosimane will be wary of facing Ethiopian opposition.

The former national team striker was sacked as South Africa coach after a home draw with Ethiopia in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.

Bitter Sudanese rivals Al Hilal and Al Merrikh were placed in Group A with Etoile Sahel of Tunisia and Ferroviario Beira of Mozambique.

Record eight-time African champions Al Ahly of Egypt are in Group D with Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, Coton Sport of Cameroon and Zanaco of Zambia.

Zamalek were placed in Group B with USM Alger of Algeria, Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya and CAPS United of Zimbabwe, shock qualifying conquerors of TP Mazembe of DR Congo.

No west African club qualified, only the third time this has occurred since groups were introduced 20 years ago.

The west is the second most successful region in CAF club competitions with 26 titles — 49 less than teams from the north.

Group fixtures run from May 12 to July 9 followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final over two legs.

Champions League format changes this year include expanding the group phase from eight clubs to 16 and hefty prize money increases.

Qualifiers for the mini-league stage are guaranteed $550,000 (505,000 euros) and the champions receive $2.5 million.

CAF Champions League group draw made in Cairo Wednesday:

Group A

Etoile Sahel (TUN), Al Hilal (SUD), Al Merrikh (SUD), Ferroviario Beira (MOZ)

Group B

Zamalek (EGY), USM Alger (ALG), Al Ahly Tripoli (LBA), CAPS Utd (ZIM)

Group C

Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA, holders), Esperance (TUN), V Club (COD), Saint George (ETH)

Group D

Al Ahly (EGY), Wydad Casablanca (MAR), Coton Sport (CMR), Zanaco (ZAM)

Match dates

May 12-14, May 23-24, June 2-4, June 20-21, June 30-July 2, July 7-9

Would you like to place a soccer bet? Click here to get started in 3 easy steps.

To comment you need to be signed in to Facebook. Please do not comment by saying anything prejudiced.
We reserve the right to remove offensive comments.

results

Chiefs 1-0 Wits
Sundows 2-2 Highlands
Arrows 2-1 Pirates

fixtures

psl log

# Team GP Pts
1 Bidvest Wits 30 60
2 Sundowns 30 57
3 Cape Town City 30 55
4 Kaizer Chiefs 30 50
5 SuperSport United 30 48
6 Polokwane City 30 43
7 Maritzburg Utd 30 38
8 Arrows 30 38
9 Platinum Stars 30 37
10 Ajax Cape Town 30 36
11 Orlando Pirates 30 33
12 Bloemfontein Celtic 30 29
13 Chippa United 30 28
14 Free State Stars 30 28
15 Baroka FC 30 28
16 Highlands Park 30 27

poll