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CAF Champions League

Remo Stars among highest ranked clubs in CAF Champions League Draw

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Nigeria’s two representatives at the CAF Champions League, Enugu Rangers and Remo Stars will on Thursday know the path they have to navigate in the CAF Champions League.

The Confédération of African  Football (CAF) will conduct the Draw of the Preliminary Stages at the CAF Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. There are 59 clubs from 47 countries featuring.

The Nigerian champions, Enugu Rangers are in Pot 4 with three others in the lowest ranked teams category.

 Remo Stars are in Pot 3 along with 15 others in the highest ranked teams category. Five teams including the defending champions, Al Ahly of Egypt and  Esperance Sportive de Tunis, the runners up are exempted from the opening round along with Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, TP Mazembe and Petroleous of Angola.

The draw of the Preliminary Stage of the  CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup officially marks the start of what promises to be another exciting season of premium African club football.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

CAF Champions League

New Champions League season kicks off with high-stakes preliminary round matches

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Contenders aiming to succeed Al Ahly as title holders of the CAF Champions League discovered their opponents on Thursday when the draw for the preliminary stage was held at the CAF headquarters in Cairo on Thursday.

With 54 matches scheduled to be played some exciting clashes are expected with the game between ambitious Arta Solar of Djibouti and Somalia’s Dekadaha FC set to draw attention.

Young Africans of Tanzania will face off against Burundi’s Vital’o FC while FC Nouadhibou will have to manage a challenging away match against Guinea’s Milo FC.

Al Ahly, Espérance de Tunis, Mamelodi Sundowns, Atlético Petroleos, Young Africans, and TP Mazembe are exempted from preliminary round.

The winner of the duel between El Merreikh and Gor Mahia FC will face Al Ahly, the titleholder. 

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Espérance of Tunisia will meet the winner of the clash between Arta Solar and Dekadaha FC in the next round. The winner of the encounter between Swallows and Fer Da Beira will clash with Mamelodi Sundowns.

Similarly, the winner of the match between Ngezi Platinium and AS Maniema will compete against Atlético Petroleos. The last exempted team, TP Mazembe, will face the winner of the match between Nyasa Big Bullets and Red Arrows.

The second round of the preliminary phases of the Champions League is scheduled for September 13-15 for the first leg matches and September 20-22 for the return legs.

Preliminary Round First Leg Matches of the Champions League

M1 & 2: El Merreikh (South Sudan) vs. Gor Mahia (Kenya)

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 M3 & 4: Arta Solar (Djibouti) vs. Dekadaha (Somalia)

M5 & 6: SC Villa Jogoo (Uganda) vs. Commercial Bank (Ethiopia)

 M7 & 8: Vital’O FC (Burundi) vs. Young Africans (Tanzania)

M9 & 10: Azam FC (Tanzania) vs. APR FC (Rwanda)

M11 & 12: JKU SC (Tanzania) vs. Pyramids (Egypt)

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M13 & 14: M. Swallows (Eswatini) vs. Fer Da Beira (Mozambique)

M15 & 16: Ngezi Platinum (Zimbabwe) vs. AS Maniema (DR Congo)

M17 & 18: Nyasa Big Bullets (Malawi) vs. Red Arrows FC (Zambia)

M19 & 20: African Stars (Namibia) vs. Jwaneng Galaxy (Botswana)

M21 & 22: Disciples FC (Madagascar) vs. Orlando Pirates (South Africa)

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M23 & 24: US Zilimadjou (Comoros) vs. Rangers FC (Nigeria)

M25 & 26: St Louis (Seychelles) vs. GDSE (Angola)

M27 & 28: AS Douanes (Burkina Faso) vs. Coton Bénin (Benin)

M29 & 30: AS Leopards (Congo) vs. CR Belouizdad (Algeria)

M31 & 32: Victoria UTD (Cameroon) vs. FC Samartex (Ghana)

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M33 & 34: ASGNN (Niger) vs. Raja Casablanca (Morocco)

M35 & 36: AS PSI (Chad) vs. US Monastir (Tunisia)

M37 & 38: Watanga FC (Liberia) vs. MC Alger (Algeria)

M39 & 40: Red Star (Central African Republic) vs. Djoliba de Bamako (Mali)

M41 & 42: CD Mongomo (Equatorial Guinea) vs. Asko de Kara (Togo)

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M43 & 44: Stade d’Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) vs. Teungueth FC (Senegal)

M45 & 46: Milo FC (Guinea) vs. FC Nouadhibou (Mauritania)

M47 & 48: Bo Rangers (Sierra Leone) vs. San Pedro (Côte d’Ivoire)

M49 & 50: Libyan Club 2 vs. Al Hilal (Sudan)

M51 & 52: Libyan Club 1 vs. El Merreikh (Sudan)

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M53 & 54: Remo Stars (Nigeria) vs. AS Far (Morocco)

With the stage set and teams ready, the new season of the  CAF Champions League promises thrilling encounters and intense competition as clubs vie for the ultimate continental glory.

-CAF

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CAF Champions League

Titanic battles ahead of Remo Stars in Champions League

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

It will not be a bed of roses for Remo Stars as they begin another continental campaign next month.

Of the four Nigerian clubs engaged in continental inter-clubs competition, they have the most challenging tasks. Remo Stars are drawn against old adversaries and more experienced Association sportive des Forces armées royales (AS FAR) of Morocco.

AS FAR eliminated Remo Stars, 2-1 on aggregate, in the first round of the CAF Confederation Cup two years ago.

In the new season, Remo Stars will host AS FAR in Ikenne on Sunday August 18. This is the first time the club will play first leg match first since they debuted in continent in 2022. The return leg will be in Rabat on 24 August.

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Should Remo Stars overcome the Moroccans, they will play the winner of the yet to be named Libyan club and Sudan’s  Al Merreikh.

AS FAR, a military outfit, has always been a hard nut for Nigerian teams to crack.

Remo Stars will be on vengeance mission for most big clubs from Nigeria who have been eliminated from continental championship by the soldier footballers from Morocco.

Of the five Nigerian clubs that have had confrontations with AS FAR, only the former Iwuanyanwu Nationale (now Heartland) ever prevailed. 

That was in the semi-finals of the old-styled Champions League edition of 1988 when the Nigerian side won 5-3 on penalties after a 4-4 aggregate scores.

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Also in the 2009 Champions League, Iwuanyanwu Nationale ousted the Moroccans after winning 3-1 at home and forcing a 1-1 draw in Rabat in the second round of the competition.

Before then, AS FAR eliminated Stationery Stores at the quarter-finals of the 1968 edition. The game went through three legs

Stores won the first leg 1-0 in Lagos but lost the return match in Rabat 2-1. Away goal rule was not in operation at the time.

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CAF Champions League

Again, Remo Stars draw Morocco’s ASFAR in continental duel

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It is an encore as Remo Stars are again draw to face Morocco’s  ASFAR in the opening series of the CAF Champions League. Both teams met two years ago in the first round of the second tier competition of CAF Confederation Cup.

Remo Stars pulled a stunning 1-1 draw away, but crumbled 1-0 at home. For the first time, Remo Stars will be playing home first unlike in their debut of 2022 and 2023.

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