There are five clubs who will be making debut as the new season of the CAF Champions League kicks off this Friday.
The season begins with the first preliminary round matches being played across the continent.
Burkina Faso’s Rail Club de Kadiogo will be returning to the Champions League for the first time since 2006 and they will take on Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko in the first match of the new season in Ouagadougou.
Defending champions Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco and compatriots Raja Club Athletic, Tunisia’s Esperance, record champions and last season’s losing finalists Al Ahly, DR Congo’s TP Mazembe and Mamelodi Sundowns have all been exempted from the first round.
CAFOnline.com looks at the first round in perspective, and what to expect as the new interclub season rolls off.
Zalan FC (South Sudan) – Zalan, based in the South Sudanese region of Rumbek are playing the Champions League for the first time in their history after their maiden victory in the Premier League last season. They begin their campaign at home and will face Tanzania’s Young Africans.
ASN Nigelec (Niger) – Ningelec won the Nigerien Premier League for the first time ever and booked their maiden sojourn to the Champions League. They have one prior continental football experience, having played in the CAF Confederation Cup in 2014, where they lost to Algeria’s CS Constantine 4-3 in the first round. They will take on another debutant, Guinea’s Academie SOAR who won the title last season.
Flambeau du Centre (Burundi) – The Gitega based team clinched their first ever league title after a 2-1 final day victory over Athletico New Oil Academy. They thus qualified to represent Burundi in the Champions League for the very first time. They will take on Libya’s Al Ittihad in the first round.
Watanga FC (Liberia) – Watanga clinched the Liberian premier League title for the first time ever and will make their Champions League debut. They travel to Nigeria for a first round date against seasones side Rivers United.
Associaçao Black Bulls (Mozambique) – The Mozambican club won the top flight for the first time ever and earned a debut in continental football, with a ticket to the Champions League. They will take on experienced Angolan side Petro de Luanda in the first preliminary round.
Here is the schedule:
* All times are in GMT
Friday 09 September 2022
Time Match Venue City
- 16:00 Rail Club de Kadiogo (Burkina Faso) – Asante Kotoko (Ghana) Stade de Yamoussoukro Yamoussoukro
Saturday 10 September 2022
- 12:30 Volcan Club de Moroni (Comoros) – La Passe FC (Seychelles) Stade Moroni Malouzini Moroni
- 13:00 APR FC (Rwanda) – US Monastirienne (Tunisia) Huye Stadium Huye
- 13:00 Zalan FC Rumbek (South Sudan) – Young Africans (Tanzania) National Stadium Dar Es Salaam
- 13:00 Cape Town City FC (South Africa) – AS Otohô (Congo) Athlone Stadium Cape Town
- 13:00 Red Arrows FC (Zambia) – CD Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) Heroes National Stadium Lusaka
- 13:00 Nyasa Big Bullets FC (Malawi) – Simba SC (Tanzania) Bingu National Stadium Lilongwe
- 14:00 Matlama FC (Lesotho) – Coton Sport (Cameroon) Free State Stadium Mangaung
- 14:30 ASO Stade Mandji (Gabon) – Plateau United FC (Nigeria) Stade de la Rénovation Franceville
- 15:00 Olympic Real de Bangui (CAR) – Vipers SC (Uganda) Stade Alphonse Massamba Debat Brazzaville
- 15:00 CD Mongomo (Equatorial Guinea) – Djoliba AC (Mali) Estadio de Mongomo Mongomo
- 15:30 ASN Nigelec (Niger) – SOAR (Guinea) Stade Général Senyi Kountché Niamey
- 16:00 BO Rangers FC (Sierra Leone) – CR Belouizdad (Algeria) Samuel Kayon Doe Sports Complex Paynesville
- 16:00 KMKM SC (Zanzibar) – Al Ahli Tripoli (Libya) Amaan Stadium Zanzibar City
Sunday 11 September 2022
Time Match Venue City
- 13:00 Saint George SC (Ethiopia) – Al Hilal (Sudan) Bahir Dar National Stadium Bahir Dar
- 13:00 Flambeau du Centre (Burundi) – Al Ittihad (Sudan) Azam Complex Dar Es Salaam
- 13:00 CFFA (Madagascar) – Royal Leopards FC (Eswatini) Stade Kianja Barea Antananarivo
- 14:00 Arta Solar 7 (Djibouti) – Al Merrikh (Sudan) Stade El hadj Hassan Gouled Djibouti Ville
- 15:00 Rivers United FC (Nigeria) – Watanga FC (Liberia) Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium Port Harcourt
- 16:00 Coton Sport Benin (Benin) – ASEC Mimosas (CIV) Stade de l’Amitié, Mathieu Kérékou Cotonou
- 16:00 ASKO de Kara (Togo) – FC Nouadhibou (Mauritania) Stade de Kegue Lomé
- 16:00 Gaborone United SC (Botswana) – AS Vita Club (DR Congo) National Stadium Gaborone
- 17:00 Casamance FC (Senegal) – JS Kabylie (Algeria) Stade Lat dior Thiès
- 13:00 Associaçao Black Bulls (Mozambique) – Petro Luanda (Angola) Estadio Nacional de Zimpeto Maputo
Sunday 18 September 2022
Time Match Venue City
- 15:00 Elect Sport (Chad) – Zamalek (Egypt) Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium Yaoundé
Clubs that received bye to Second Preliminary Round
- Al Ahly (Egypt), Esperance (Tunisia), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), Raja Club Athletic (Morocco), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco).
- Besides Horoya AC (Mali) is qualified for the next round following the withdrawal of Gambia’s Hawks FC.