1. David and Goliath affair in Cairo
There is nothing there to compare between Al Ahly and Medeama SC. Al Ahly was established in 1907 and has won a total of 143 trophies whereas Medeama is just 21 years old and has won just one league title. Al Ahly is making its 21st appearance in the money zone whilst Medemaa is making its debut.
It is never comfortable playing your first-ever CCL game away as it’s the most difficult job in African football especially when you’re playing against Al Ahly in Cairo.
Al Ahly v Medeama SC
Venue: Al Salam Stadium, Cairo
Time: 7 pm, Saturday
2 . The Tunisian Classico is always a delight to watch
The distance between Tunis and Sousse is 118 kilometers (73 miles). Driving distance from Tunis to Sousse is 150 kilometres (93 miles). With a total meeting of 164, Esperance of Tunis has the bragging right with 67 wins, and 45 draws with Étoile du Sahel winning 52.
The Tunisian Classico is one of the biggest games on the continent. Etoile du Sahel are unbeaten in their last 11 games after losing MD1 2-1 to Olympique Beja in the Tunisian League Professionnelle 1. The defending champions are on top of Group A of the Tunisian top flight as they bid to defend their league title and also make amends in the CCL.
A visit to the Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi in Rhades has been a difficult one for Etoile du Sahel as they have won just once in their last 10 trips to Esperance with Esperance winning 7 and drawing two.
Esperance de Tunis v Etoile du Sahel
Venue: Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi
Time 4 pm, Saturday
3. Managerless Simba SC entertains ASEC Mimosas
Simba SC drew 1-1 with Namungo at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium after the 5-1 humiliation by Yanga SC. The international break came at the right time for the Luyansi as they were broken-hearted. The break is over with the CCL opener against Asec Mimosas of Ivory Coast to revive themselves.
Asec is third in the domestic league table with a game in hand. Simba can not afford to lose their opening game of the CCL as they are on a mission to restore their lost confidence.
Simba SC v Asec Mimosas
Venue: Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium
Time: 1:pm, Saturday
4. Will Wydad pour their anger at Jwaneng Galaxy?
The Casablanca-based club have lost their last two finals in all competitions on the continent. 3-2 on aggregate defeats v Al Ahly and Sundowns in the CCL and AFL respectively have bruised Wydad. The Red Devils always put up a world-class performance whenever they’re playing against minnows at the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca. Jwaneng Galaxy, the Batswana giants are minnows on the continent as they seek to write their history. Morena Ramoreboli, the South African manager’s task was to qualify the Galaxy for the money zone. With the mission accomplished, any win-or-draw game for Jwaneng Galaxy in the CCL will be a bonus.
Wyday Athletic v Jwaneng Galaxy
Venue: Stade Mohammed V
Time: 7 pm, Friday
5. Petro Luanda seeks to make Estadio 11 du Novembro a fortress
The Angolan giants will commence their 2023-24 CCL journey with a home fixture against Sudanese side Al Hilal.
Os Tricolores with be making their 6th appearance in the money zone of the CCL having played in two semi-finals. They aim to be part of the regular top teams in the CAF Champions League. By doing so, they must make Estadio 11 de Novembro a stronghold. In the African Football League Quarter-finals against Mamelodi Sundowns, they lost 2-0 at home in the first leg which subsequently ended the tie. In a group of death, wins at home will prove whether Petro de Luanda will qualify for the knockout phase or not.
Petro de Luanda v Al Hilal
Venue: Estadio 11 de Novembro, Luanda
Time: 4 pm, Saturday
6. TP Mazembe bounces back after two years of absence
Managed by Lamine Ndiaye,67, the experienced Senegalese gaffer has one objective in mind- to qualify for the knockout phase. A trip to Cairo to face Egyptian side Pyramids after two years of absence in the prestigious CCL is fascinating.
The Lubumbashi-based club are five times winners of the competition and will be making their 13th appearance in the money zone since 1997 making them the team with the most appearances in the Sub-Saharan region. With Al Ahly and Esperance having made 21 appearances each, TP Mazembe is in third with 13 appearances which makes them a far better team than Pyramids in terms of experience.
Pyramids v TP Mazembe
Venue: 30 June Stadium, Cairo
Time: 4 pm, Friday
7. Young Africans begin their journey in Algiers
Miguel Angel Gamondi, the Argentine tactician and his Yanga SC family will feel like they are making their debut in the CCL. They first appeared in the group stage in 1998 and have since then issued every single season. Now on top of their game, they visit recent regulars in the CCL, CR Belouizdad in Algiers.
Young Africans won in Algeria in the second leg of the Confederation Cup finals last season after losing the first leg at home to USM Algier. They can never be underestimated in Algeria as their last trip was a successful one albeit they are visiting a side that has qualified for the knockout phase in the last 3 seasons.
CR Belouizdad vs Young Africans
Venue: Stade 5 Juillet 1962, Algiers
Time: 7 pm, Friday
8. Loftus Versfeld will be in a jubilant mood
Mamelodi Sundowns’ men and women have won big this year. You can not be less happy as a fan of the Brazilians as the African Football League was won by the men and the CAF Women’s Champions League was won by the women. They will celebrate against minnows Noudhibou on Sunday afternoon as it will be their first game at home since winning the AFL.
With Peter Shalilule and Lucas Costa leading the attack, expect more goals to celebrate the Bafana ba Style and Bayana ba Style’s respective triumphs.
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Nouadhibou FC
Venue: Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Time: 1:pm, Sunday