Posted by Muyiwa Akintunde | 24 May 2016 | 3,790 times
Enyimba have been drawn in the same group with five-time winners Zamalek in the CAF Champions League group stage. The draw, conducted at the Confederation of African Football secretariat in Cairo this afternoon, pitched the Nigerian champions, twice CAF Champions League winners, against the Egyptian side who have won more CAF trophies than any other African team in the 20th century.
Also in Group B with both teams are ES Sétif (Algeria) and South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns.
In Group A are: Al-Ahly (Egypt), ASEC Mimosas (Côte d’Ivoire), ZESCO United (Zambia) and Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco).
Zamalek had won the CAF Champions League five times – 1984, 1986, 1993, 1996 and 2002 – and were runners-up in 1994.They lifted the CAF Super Cup – decided between the winners of the continent’s two club competitions – on three occasions – 1994, 1997 and 2003 – and won the African Cup Winners Cup (now known as Confederation Cup) in 2000.
Enyimba, the only Nigerian CAF Champions League champions (2003 and 2004), have been unable to go beyond the semi-finals since 2011 when they lost to Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club. It was their second semi-final exit after that of 2008 to eventually winners, Al-Ahly of Egypt.
Last year, Enyimba were eliminated in the first round, while they lost at the group stage as defending champions in 2005, also in the following year.
Enyimba are the only surviving Nigerian side in CAF club competitions this year. Warri Wolves lost in the first round of the Champions League, the same stage Nasarawa United got to in the second-tier Confederation Cup, while Akwa United exited in the preliminary round of the Confederation Cup.
ES Sétif, another team on Enyimba’s way to the semifinals this year, are two-time winners of the Champions League as well – 1988 and 2014. They won the Super Cup last year and were Confederation Cup runners-up in 2009.
Mamelodi Sundowns appear to be the weakling in Enyimba’s group. They had been eliminated in all CAF competitions this year until fate helped their case. Beaten on away goal rule in the second round of the Champions League by DR Congo’s AS Vita Club, the South African champions dropped down to the Confederation Cup where they were also edged out by Ghana’s Medeama.
But CAF ruled earlier today that AS Vita Club used an ineligible player in the preliminary rounds of the Champions League. As a result, the last team they beat in the competition being Mamelodi Sundowns were restored to the Champions League at the group stage.
Egypt's Al-Ahly, in Group A of this year's Champions League, have won the title a record eight times, while both ASEC Mimosas and Wydad Athletic Club were once winners - 1998 and 1992. ZESCO United have never gone past the group stage in four appearances.
The group matches in both Champions League and Confederation Cup will be played between June 17 and August 24 with the top two teams in each group progressing to the semifinals.
The full draw...
2016 CAF Champions League (Group stage draw):
Group A: ZESCO United (Zambia), Al-Ahly (Egypt), ASEC Mimosas (Côte d’Ivoire), Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco)
Group B: Enyimba (Nigeria), Zamalek (Egypt), ES Sétif (Algeria), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
2016 CAF Confederation Cup (Group stage draw):
Group A: MO Béjaïa (Algeria), Young Africans (Tanzania), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Medeama (Ghana)
Group B: Kawkab Marrakech (Morocco), Étoile Sportive du Sahel (Tunisia), FUS Rabat (Morocco), Al-Ahli Tripoli (Libya)
•Photo shows Enyimba defender Ugwu Uwadiegwu in action.
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