Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates celebrates goal with teammates during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on the 27 October 2018 at FNB Stadium, Soweto / Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Thursday Dec 13, 2018. 09:00
Fifteen first round, first-leg matches to be played around the continent.
The 2018-19 CAF Champions League will see 15 first round, first-leg matches played across the continent this coming weekend, 14-16 December.
This round sees the entry of the ‘big boys’ who received a bye through the preliminary round: Wydad Casablanca, TP Mazembe, Al Ahly and AS Vita. The 2018 winners, Esperance de Tunis, have already been granted a place in the group stage and will be in Club World Cup action on Saturday evening.
Friday’s big game comes from the Borg El Arab Stadium outside of Alexandria as Al Ahly, who were runners-up in the 2018 competition, begin their campaign for a record-extending ninth continental title with a home match against Ethiopia’s Jimma Aba Jifar.
Saturday sees 2017 winners Wydad Casablanca at home to Senegal’s ASC Diaraf, Stade Malien and Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas meet for a West African derby in Bamako, and South Africa’s Orlando Pirates – the first team from the region to win the competition, way back in 1995 – are at home to Namibia’s African Stars.
Sunday has a seriously busy schedule and features potential thrillers between Ismaily and Coton Sport, TP Mazembe and Zesco United, Al Ahly Bengazi and 2016 winners Mamelodi Sundowns and Tunisia’s Club Africain at home to Sudanese giants Al Hilal.
The return leg matches are scheduled for the following weekend, 21-23 December. The 15 aggregate winners will advance into the group stage to join Esperance, while the losers will ‘drop’ into the CAF Confederation Cup and compete in that competition’s playoff round in 2019.
CAF Champions League fixtures, 14-16 December 2018
Friday 14 December
Al Ahly v Jimma Aba Jifar
Al Nasr v Horoya
CS Constantine v Vipers
Saturday 15 December
Stade Malien v ASEC Mimosas
JS Saoura v Ittihad Tanger
Wydad Casablanca v ASC Diaraf
Orlando Pirates v African Stars
Sunday 16 December
Ismaily v Coton Sport
TP Mazembe v Zesco United
Al Ahly Bengazi v Mamelodi Sundowns
Gor Mahia v Lobi Stars
Nkana v Simba
AS Vita v Bantu
Club Africain v Al Hilal
AS Otoho v FC Platinum