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Pitso Mosimane faces possible SA reunion in CAF Champions League group stage

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Oct 27, 2021

Mamelodi Sundowns could face Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly and fellow South African side AmaZulu in the CAF Champions League group stage depending on the draw set to take place at the CAF headquarters in Cairo, Egypt in December or January 2022.

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Following the completion of the CAF Champions League second preliminary round ties this past weekend, the 16 remaining teams have been drawn into FOUR pots (1 to 4) based on their seeding over the course of a rolling five-year period determined by performances in both the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup.

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The top four seeded teams have been placed in Pot 1, the next best four in Pot 2 and so on.

One team from each pot will be drawn in each of the four groups (A to D) which will then play each other home and away to determine the top two sides in each group who will then move on to the quarter-finals.

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Mamelodi Sundowns, who overcame Maniema Union of the DR Congo 3-1 on aggregate to reach the group stage, have been placed in Pot 2 alongside Egyptian giants Zamalek, Horoya from Guinea and Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel.

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Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly, are the top seeds and defending champions and share Pot 1 with three sides familiar to South African fans: Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia), and Wydad Casablanca and Raja Casablanca (both Morocco).

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Meanwhile, Benni McCarthy’s AmaZulu, who made history when they reached the CAF Champions League for the first time in the club’s history, have successfully managed to come through both the first and second rounds to reach the last 16.

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Usuthu have been placed in Pot 4 alongside Al Merrikh (Sudan), Sagrada Esperanca (Angola) and Jwaneng Galaxy (Botswana).

Pitso Mosimane is of course a former Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns coach and led his now Al Ahly team to a quarter-final victory over the Brazilians in last season’s tournament.

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In a worst case scenario, Mamelodi Sundowns could be drawn with both Al Ahly and AmaZulu as well as top-ranked Pot 3 side, Sudan’s Al Hilal.

There are no restrictions against two clubs from the same country being drawn in the same group.

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A best-case scenario for Mamelodi Sundowns would be a group with the weakest (on paper) teams in each pot, namely Raja Casablanca, ES Setif (Algeria) and Jwaneng Galaxy.

Similarly, AmaZulu will ideally wish to avoid heavyweights Al Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns, but at the same time will relish just being part of the group stage of Africa’s premier club competition.

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Match-day 1 will take place on 11-12 February 2022 and the final group matches are currently scheduled for 1-2 April 2022.

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