epa05478570 Al Ahly's player Saad Samir (L) in action against Zesco United player John Ching'andu (R) during the African Champions League (CAF) grou stage match between Al Ahly and Zesco United at military Stadium in Suez, Egypt, 12 August 2016. EPA/KHALED ELFIQI
Thursday Dec 22, 2016. 09:30
Defending Caf Champions League holders Mamelodi Sundowns have been given a bye through the preliminary stage of next year's competition and will only enter the tournament in the first round proper, in March.
The Brazilians will face either KCCA from Uganda or Primeiro de Agosto of Angola over two-legs for a place in the group stages of the continental showpiece.
Sundowns secured a maiden Caf Champions League crown in October; beating Zamalek 3-1 on aggregate in the final.
CAMEROON IN DISARRAY AFTER 7 STARS PULL OUT OF AFCON
Moreover, the draw for the 2017 Caf Champions League, which was conducted on Wednesday, coughed up a difficult passage to the group stages for South Africa's second entrant, Bidvest Wits.
The Clever Boys should breeze past AS Saint Louisianne of the Reunion Islands in the preliminary stage, but will find life a lot tougher in the next round where Egyptian giants Al Ahly lie in wait for Gavin Hunt's troops.
FULL DRAW LINK