Sundowns, Pirates learn Champions League opponents

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  • Post published:July 25, 2023

Mamelodi Sundowns have again received a bye through the first round of the African Champions League and will face what looks a routine assignment in the second round as they seek to reach the group stage for a ninth successive season.

The South African champions must beat the winner of the first round tie between CS Bendje of Gabon or Bumauru from Burundi, who are both rookies in the continent’s top club competition, if they are to make the group phase next year.

The draws for the opening two rounds of both annual African club competitions were conducted in Cairo on Tuesday:

Orlando Pirates will be looking for a repeat of their one-sided victory a decade ago as they meet Djabal from the tiny Comoros Islands again in the opening round of the African Champions League.

The Buccaneers, returning to the field for the continent’s top club competition, were drawn on Tuesday against the club from the small Indian Ocean island when the draw for the 2023-24 African Champions League was conducted at the Confederation of African Football headquarters in Cairo.

Pirates thrashed Djabal 9-0 on aggregate in 2013 when they went on to reach the final, losing narrowly to Al Ahly of Egypt.
Pirates were last in the Champions League in 2020 when they suffered an embarrassing first round defeat at the hands of Zambian rookies Green Eagles but should breeze through this time.

If they do so, they will have a second round meeting against either Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy or Vipers of Uganda, who were in the group phase of the Champions League last season.

SuperSport United, who were runners-up in 2017, were handed a bye into the second round of the African Confederation Cup, were they face either Botswana’s Gaborone United or the Malagasy club Elgeco Plus.

Rookies Sekhukhune United begin their maiden African club competition campaign in the Confederation Cup at home against Young Buffaloes from Eswatini and if they win they will advance to a second round clash against St Eloi Lupopo from the Democratic Republic of Congo.