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Sunday, October 1, 2023

CAF Champions League: A look at each matchup from the Second Round

The 2023-24 CAF Champions League is in the final round of qualifying for the group stage and there are plenty of interesting matchups as 32 clubs battle it out for 16 spots. Pan-Africa Football takes a look at each duel in the Second Round and we grouped each one into three categories. Read more on each match below, who the favorites are and where the potential surprises may await:

“David versus Goliath”

Al Ahly brought in veteran striker Anthony Modeste from German club Borussia Dortmund to boost their hopes of winning the CAF Champions League. Will the French goal scorer live up to expectations?

Al Ahly (EGY) v Saint George (ETH)

With all due respect to Ethiopian champions Saint George, a very capable side, the Horsemen are up against all the odds when they face defending Champions League winners Al Ahly. Ahly are determined to win every competition they are involved in and the squad was strengthened with the arrivals of Egypt national team midfielder Emam Ashour and talented young Moroccan forward Reda Slim. However the arrival of striker Anthony Modeste, most recently at Borussia Dortmund, may give Ahly the reliable and physically imposing threat up top they are searching for.

Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA) v Bumamuru FC (BDI)

Like Al Ahly, South African titans Mamelodi Sundowns only continue to get stronger with more notable signings including Argentinean playmaker Júnior Mendieta from fellow South African club Stellenbosch and Brazilian forward Lucas Ribeiro Costa from Belgian football. Bumamuru FC of Burundi, a club that was founded nine years ago, did well to challenge Congolese club Diables Noirs and Ethiopia’s Fasil Kenema in the last two editions of the CAF Confederation Cup but have no chance against the highest regarded club in sub-Saharan Africa.

The rich get richer: Mamelodi Sundowns look even more formidable in the attack this season with the additions of Argentinean playmaker Júnior Mendieta (left) and Brazilian forward Lucas Ribeiro Costa (right)

Wydad AC (MAR) v Hafia FC (GUI)

At the moment, Wydad don’t look like a team that is capable of reaching the heights of the side that won both the 2021-22 Champions League and Morocco’s Botola Pro but should progress to the group stage. WAC will face a Hafia FC side that upset Senegal’s Génération Foot in the first round but it is going to be a struggle for the Guinean club despite an excellent history that saw them become African club champions in 1972, 1975 and 1977.

CR Belouizdad (DZA) v Bo Rangers (SLE)