AFP
3 minute read
31 Jul 2019
1:03 pm

Esperance, Wydad included in CAF Champions League draw

AFP

Esperance Tunis and Wydad Casablanca, who are locked in a legal battle over which won the last CAF Champions League, will have first-round byes when the next edition kicks off.

Esperance de Tunis players hold up the trophy after winning during the 2nd leg of CAF champion league final 2019 football match between Tunisia's Esperance sportive de Tunis and Morocco's Wydad Athletic Club at the Olympic stadium in Rades on May 31, 2019. (Photo by FETHI BELAID / AFP)

Both the Tunisian and the Moroccan clubs will advance directly to the last-32 of the premier Confederation of African Football (CAF) competition.

Esperance will play Cercle Mberi Sportif of Gabon or Elect-Sport of Chad while Wydad have been drawn against the winner of SO Armee of the Ivory Coast and Nouadhibou of Mauritania during September.

Two months ago, Esperance were leading Wydad 2-1 on aggregate with 30 minutes remaining of the second leg in Tunis when Wydad had an equaliser disallowed.

Wydad wanted the decision referred to VAR (video assistant referee), but the system was not working and the team stormed off in protest.

After a 90-minute delay, Esperance were awarded the match and the team received medals and the trophy, but not the $2.5 million (2.24 mn euros) prize.

When CAF officials later ordered the second leg to be replayed at a neutral venue, both clubs lodged appeals with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

CAF accepted this course of action and the Switzerland-based CAS has promised to reach a decision by July 31.

– Historic –

The next Champions League will be historic as an August-to-May season is introduced and the final is reduced from two legs to one match at a neutral venue.

There will also be a record 14 previous winners involved, including eight-time trophy-holders Al Ahly of Egypt.

While the new timetable has been welcomed as it matches most African domestic seasons, there is concern that finals could be watched by tiny crowds.

The Cup of Nations, which finished in Egypt on July 19, confirmed that African football fans show little interest in matches not involving their own clubs or national teams.

A 9,000 crowd watched Senegal beat Tunisia in a semi-final that would have filled a 60,000-capacity stadium in Dakar or Tunis.

The latest Champions League begins in August with 29 preliminary round ties while Esperance, Wydad and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo have byes.

Guinean club Hafia, who were African champions three times between 1972 and 1977, return after a 36-year absence and face Etoile Sahel of Tunisia.

Dekedaha are the first entrants since 1990 from violence-ravaged Somalia  and they meet five-time champions Zamalek of Egypt.

The 2019/20 CAF Champions League preliminary round and last-32 draws:

Preliminary round

Brikama Utd (GAM) v Raja Casablanca (MAR)

AS Tempete Mocaf (CAR) v Al Nasr (LBA)

JS Kabylie (ALG) v Al Merrikh (SUD)

Stade Malien (MLI) v Horoya AC (GUI)

Buffles Borgou (BEN) v ASC Kara (TOG)

UMS Loum (CMR) v AS V Club (COD)

Rayon Sports (RWA) v Al Hilal (SUD)

Rahimo (BUR) v Enyimba (NGR)

AS SONIDEP (NIG) v USM Alger (ALG)

Aigle Noir Makamba (BDI) v Gor Mahia (KEN)

Atlabara (SSD) v Al Ahly (EGY)

Cano Sport Academy (GEQ) v Mekelle 70 Enderta (ETH)

Dekedaha (SOM) v Zamalek (EGY)

LPRC Oilers (LBR) v Generation Foot (SEN)

Hafia (GUI) v Etoile Sahel (TUN)

Kano Pillars (NGR) v Asante Kotoko (GHA)

African Stars (NAM) v Kampala Capital City Authority (UGA)

Matlama (LES) v Petro Luanda (ANG)

Fomboni (COM) v Cote d’Or (SEY)

AS Otono (CGO) v Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)

SO Armee (CIV) v Nouadhibou (MTN)

Cercle Mberi Sportif (GAB) v Elect-Sport (CHA)

Green Mamba (SWZ) v ZESCO Utd (ZAM)

Young Africans (TAN) v Township Rollers (BOT)

Nyasa Big Bullets (MAW) v Platinum (ZIM)

UD Songo (MOZ) v Simba (TAN)

KMKM (ZAN) v Primeiro Agosto (ANG)

Green Eagles (ZAM) v Orlando Pirates (RSA)

Fosa Juniors (MAD) v Pamplemousses (MRI)

First legs: Aug 9-11, second: Aug 23-25

Last 32

Mocaf/Nasr v Brikama/Raja

Kabylie/Merrikh v Malien/Horoya

Borgou/Kara v Loum/V Club

Rahimo/Enyimba v Rayon/Hilal

SONIDEP/USM v Aigle/Gor

Cano/Mekelle v Atlabara/Ahly

Oilers/Generation v Dekedaha/Zamalek

Kano/Kotoko v Hafia/Etoile

Matlama/Petro v Stars/Kampala

Fomboni/Cote v Otoho/Sundowns

Armee/Nouadhibou v Wydad Casablanca (MAR)

Cercle/Elect v Esperance (TUN)

Africans/Rollers v Mamba/ZESCO

Bullets/Platinum v Songo/Simba

Eagles/Pirates v KMKM/Agosto

Fosa/Pamplemousses v TP Mazembe (COD)

First legs: Sept 13-15
Second: Sept 27-29

Note: winners qualify for group stage and losers demoted to CAF Confederation Cup

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