Five clubs made history over the weekend as they progressed to the group stages of the 2018 CAF Champions League.
Uganda’s KCCA, Botswana’s Township Rollers, Swaziland’s Mbabane Swallows, AS Togo of Togo and Horoya from Guinea all qualified for the group stages of the elite competition for the first time.
KCCA edged Ethiopia’s St. George 1-0 on aggregate, Township Rollers won 2-1 over Yanga of Tanzania, Horoya won 3-0 over Senegal’s Generation Foot but the biggest surprise remain Mbabane Swallows who won home and away against Zambia’s Zanaco.
The five indicate the benefits of an expanded competition that now has four groups (16 teams) unlike previously when only 8 teams made the group stages of the most lucrative club competition on the continent.
Meanwhile, the competition also has perennial contenders that include former eight champions.
Al Ahly of Egypt leads with 8 championships, TP Mazembe follows closely with 5 while Esperance and Wydad Casablanca have won the competition twice.
Others are Etoile Du Sahel, MC Algers, Mamelodi Sundowns and Algeria’s ES Sentif that have won it at least once.
Elsewhere, Primeiro Agosto of Angola reached the group stage for the first time since 1997 by edging Wits of South Africa 3-2 in a Johannesburg penalty shootout after both clubs won 1-0 at home.
Zesco United and Difaa Hassan El Jadidi of Morocco complete the set.
March 21, 2018 Draw
The draw for the group stages will be held on March 21 in Cairo, Egypt with group games scheduled to be played between May and August.
Former Champions: TP Mazembe, Al Ahly, Wydad Casablanca, Esperance, ES Sentif, Mamelodi Sundowns, MC Algers, Etoile Du Sahel,
Debutants: KCCA, Township Rollers, Mbabane Swallows, Horoya and AS Togo
Others: Zesco United, Difaâ Hassani El Jadidi, Premeiro de Agosto (Angola)