Yesterday, CAF released the 2017 CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup pre-group stage fixtures. The format takes a new shape in 2017 where there will 4 groups of 4 teams unlike previous years of 2 groups of 4 teams. There will be a quarter final after the group stage for the first time. This is applicable to both CAF Club competitions.
In the CAF Champions League, Rangers were paired with J.S. Saoura of Algeria while Rivers United have AS Real Bamako of Mali in the preliminary round. The 2015/16 NPFL Champions will visit Algeria first before a return leg a week later in Enugu. NPFL Runners-up Rivers United will visit Mali in the first leg before the return leg in Port Harcourt the following week.
The winner of the Rangers/Saoura tie will face 2016 finalists Zamalek of Egypt in the first round while the winner of Rivers United/AS Bamako tie will either Sony Nguema of Equatorial Guinea or El Merrikh of Sudan. Recall that Zamalek were in the same group with Enyimba in 2016. First round winners will move straight to the Group Stage.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, Federation Cup winners FC IfeanyiUbah have been paired with Masry of Egypt while Wikki Tourists have been paired with RSLAF of Sierra Leone in the preliminary round. FC IfeanyiUbah will play at home first before travelling to Egypt for the return leg. Wikki Tourists begin their quest away in Sierra Leone before a return leg in Bauchi a week later.
Winner of the Wikki Tourists/RSLAF tie will face Club Africain of Tunisia while the winner of the FC IfeanyiUbah/Masry tie will play Djoliba of Mali in the first round. There is a second round where fall outs from the CAF Champions League will vie for a spot in the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.
The full fixtures are available here. The preliminary rounds will take place as follows:
- 1st leg: 10-12 February, 2017
- 2nd leg 17-19 February, 2017
Since the CAF Confederation Cup was founded in 2004, no Nigerian team have won the competition. Enyimba FC remains the only team to have won the CAF Champions League in 2003 and 2004.
Meanwhile, the full fixtures of the 2016/17 NPFL season is out. It begins on the 14th day of January 2017. Get ready for action.