Defending champions Al-Ahly of Egypt have been drawn alongside Algeria’s CS Belouistad, Young Africans of Tanzania and Ghana’s Mediama in the group stage draw of the African Champions League for the 2023-2024 season. While Wydad Casablanca will be looking for their fourth continental title, their shaky start to the season will make them reconsider their ninth consecutive appearance in the group stage, a feat which is a feat. The first round of group stage matches will be held on November 24-25, and the round ends on March 3, 2024.
Looks like the 2023-2024 season edition African Champions League It will witness tough Arab clashes, with Egypt’s Al-Ahly in particular looking for their record twelfth title, and newcomers Egypt’s Pyramids and Mauritania’s Noutibo a tough task, according to the draw for the group stage of the tournament. Friday in Johannesburg.
The draw pits defending champions Al-Ahly, Algeria’s CS Belouistad, Tanzania’s Young Africans, last season’s runners-up in the Federation Cup, and Ghana’s Mediama.
Al-Ahli, who will compete in the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia later this year, include an experienced squad including German Borussia Dortmund veteran French striker Anthony Modeste and Moroccan striker Reda Slim, as well as international goalkeeper Mohamed El. -Shenawi, Tunisian full-back Ali Maloul, South African striker Percy Dow, and Hussein El-Shahad. , Mohammad Magdi (Afsha) Mahmoud Abdel Monim (Gahraba).
After dominating the Algerian league in recent years, Belouistad will be hoping to capitalize on Al-Ahly’s long season to achieve continental success.
For this, he relies on the experience of his Belgian coach Sven Vandenbrouck and his veteran players Shuaib Ghadat, goalkeeper Alexis Kunduz and Osama Darflo.
The young Africans will be hoping to ensure the growth of Tanzanian football and take advantage of the three matches played at home and among its fans. While Mteema is unknown, Horia’s exclusion of Conakry has the potential to spring surprises.
difficulties and ambitions
While the Pyramids are in the first round like Ntibo, they will struggle to overcome South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns, who are looking for their second title since 2016, and Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are looking for a sixth continental title. And since 2015, in the first group.
The Egyptian club, led by Portuguese Africa specialist Jaime Pacheco, bolstered its squad with Democratic Congolese Fiston Mayel, Nigerian Tolulob Samuel Ojo and South African Varki Leke in addition to Moroccan veteran Walid El Karthy.
Sundowns are retaining most of their staff and coach Rolany Mokona as their squad will be led by Uruguayan Gaston Serino, Moroccan Abdel Monim Boudoille, Argentine Junior Mendieta and Brazilian Lucas.
Despite their decline in recent years, Mazembe remain one of the toughest teams, especially at home in Lubumbashi.
Nautibu is enjoying continental competition for the first time in its history as it is led by Spanish coach Aredes Lopes Garay and features veteran striker Moulay Ahmed Bassam in its squad.
Nouadhibou qualified at the expense of Real Bamako, who after beating them 3-0 at home, drew 1-1 at Nouakchott.
Vaidat is a balanced group
The second group, which includes runners-up Waitat Athletic Club of Morocco, is drawn with Tanzania’s Simba, Ivory Coast’s ASEC Mimosas and Botswana’s Kwaneng Galaxy.
Things look within reach for Casablanca’s quest for a fourth continental title on paper, but its shaky start to the season will see it review its ninth consecutive presence in the group stage, a feat which is a feat in itself.
Coach Rashid Ramsey’s squad includes internationals Yahya Attiya Allah, Ayoub Al-Amloud and captain Yahya Gibran, but despite Senegal’s top goalscorer Pauly Sambo Jr., it still suffers at the attacking level.
Simba will be looking to make a mark in the tournament after enjoying its presence in the first rounds, while Guanying Galaxy will be participating for the second time and will hope to not be easy prey.
Acek Mimosa, who will host the Africa Cup of Nations early next year, hopes to regain his glory in the tournament he won in 1998.
A Tunisian classic
The all-Tunisian clash resulted in a draw between Esperance, seeking a fifth title since 2019, and Etoile du Sahel, who return to the 2007 title-winning competition, with Angola’s Atletico de Luanda and Al Hilal in Group Three. Sudan.
Bob Suika’s team is in a difficult phase after the resignation of its coach Moin Chabani and his assistant Magdi Droui, but it is still one of the most valuable teams in the competition.
He supported his ranks with Brazilians such as Gilan Salali and Mohamed Ali Ben Hamouda, John Chas, Rodrigo Rodriguez, Nigerian Yusuf Omaru, Nigerian Onochie Okbelo and Algerian Hamza Gesha.
As for Etoile, who reclaimed the local league title last season, under coach Imad Ben Younes, they will be looking to repeat the success that saw them overcome the barrier of the Royal Moroccan Army in the second round.
Sudan Crescent will hope that its players, especially those led by Mohamed Abdel-Rahman (Karbal), will not be affected by the conditions in their country and will be forced to play away from the “Blue Gem” ground to qualify for the knockouts. Rounds.
Atlético de Luanda, led by its top-scoring Brazilian Thiago Azulao, is a strong candidate to reach the advanced stages.
The first round of the group stage will be held on November 24 and 25, the quarter-finals on March 29 and 30 and April 5 and 6, the semi-finals on April 19, 20, 26 and 27, and the final on May 19 and 26, 2024. .