1. Confederation Cup is RS Berkane’s home
RS Berkane in their 8th season in the CAF Confederation Cup showed why they are the best team in the competition since 2015 when they lost on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate score against Malian side Onze Creatures in the Preliminary round. RS Berkane has since then gone on to reach the money zone of the CCC on six occasions. Champions on two occasions ( 2020 and 2022) and one runner-up (2019), RS Berkane is proven to be Africa’s Sevilla. They opened their 2023-24 season with a 2-0 win over Sekhukhune United of South Africa.
2. Mixed scorelines in both the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup for the debutants
Medeama SC and Nouadhibou lost their first-ever CCL games against Al Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns whereas Pyramids, another debutant won 1-0 against TP Mazembe.
In the Confederations Cup, debutants Sekhukhune United, Dreams FC, Academica, SOAR, Abu Salim and Al Hilal all lost as Sagrada was the only debutant that won in the Confederation Cup by beating their fellow debutants SOAR 2-0.
3. Jwaneng Galaxy shocks the continent
The Galaxy shinned in Marrakesh on Saturday evening and secured a shocking 1-0 win against Wydad Athletic in Morocco. A result that has sent shock waves throughout the continent has gotten football lovers talking about what Jwaneng Galaxy has for this year’s edition. Underestimate Jwanneg Galaxy at your peril as en route to the group stage, they eliminated last season’s money zone debutants, Vipers of Uganda and the South African giants, Orlando Pirates.
4. Mamelodi Sundowns shows they have a huge squad depth
11 players missed against Noadhibou yet Mamelodi Sundowns comfortably won against the Mauritanian minnows. Rivaldo Coetzee, Grant Kekana, Lesiba Nku, Junior Mendieta, Bathusi Aubaas, Abubeker Nasri, Thapelo Maseko, Abdelmounaim Boutouil, Mothobi Mvala, Aubrey Modiba and Denis Onyango all missed due to injuries yet Sundowns showed that they have too much quality in abundance as goals from Lucas Costa, Peter Shalulile and Gaston Sirino defeated Nouadhibou 3-0.
5. Ghana has been absent in the money zone for 11 years 19 days
4,087- the number of days the last time any Ghanaian club played a match in the money zone of the CAF Champions League.
It was on 16th September 2012 at the Accra Sports Stadium in the last matchday of the group stage. Berekum Chelsea led by the impeccable Emanuel Clottey finished the competition with a 1-0 win against TP Mazembe with Jordan Opoku scoring the winner in the 80th minute. In a group alongside Al Ahly TP Mazembe and Zamalek, Berekum Chelsea punched above their weight by finishing 3rd with just 1 point separating the first-placed team Al Ahly and them. Second-placed TP Mazembe qualified ahead of Chelsea due to a superior goal difference. Zamalek finished bottom of the group.
6. USM Algiers starts their title defence with a bang in Algiers
Holders of the CAF Confederation Cup and CAF Super Cup, USM Algiers commenced their title defence with a 2-0 win at the Stade 5 Juillet 1962 in Algiers against their fellow North Africans Al Hilal Bengazhi. Two second-half goals from Islam Merili and Tumisang Orebonye were enough to start the USM Algiers’ title defence on a bright note.
7. Fagrie Lakay makes history
The 26-year-old South African forward Fagrie Lakay made history on Friday as he became the first player to ever score a goal for Pyramids in the money zone of the CAF Champions League. He scored the only goal of the game in the 54th minute from Fiston Mayele’s assist against TP Mazembe. Born in Manenberg, the former Santos and Ajax Cape Town forward who joined Pyramids from Cape Town City in 2022 also scored the first goal of the 2023-24 CAF Champions League.
8. Nigeria’s sole representative in Africa, Rivers United massacred Academica of Angola
Goals from Samuel Antwi, Paul Odeh and Shedrack Asiegbu secured a 3-0 win for Nigeria’s only representative in the continental club competitions. Enyimba and Remo Stars were eliminated in the Champions League playoff by Medeama and Al Ahly Benghazi respectively whilst in the Confederation Cup Bendel Insurance, was eliminated by Berkane, and Rivers United represented Nigeria. Rivers United is the only one among the four teams from Nigeria to make it to the group stages.