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Holders Wydad Casablanca among 58 CAF Champions League hopefuls

By AFP
Africa Captain Yahya Jabrane C lifts the trophy after Wydad Casablanca defeated Egyptian club Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League final on May 30, 2022..  By - AFP
AUG 8, 2022 LISTEN
Captain Yahya Jabrane (C) lifts the trophy after Wydad Casablanca defeated Egyptian club Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League final on May 30, 2022.. By - (AFP)

Title-holders Wydad Casablanca from Morocco are among 58 clubs who have entered the 2022-2023 CAF Champions League, with the qualifying rounds draw to be made in Cairo on Tuesday.

Originally set for Monday, a Confederation of African Football (CAF) statement said the event had been delayed 24 hours due to unexplained "technical reasons".

The draws mark the start of a big week for African clubs as CAF president Patrice Motsepe is due to launch in Tanzania on Wednesday an African Super League, with the first edition planned for 2023.

Wydad were crowned African champions a third time in May, defeating record 10-time winners Al Ahly from Egypt 2-0 in the final in Casablanca.

The choice of the home ground of Wydad for the biggest club match in Africa sparked an angry reaction from Ahly, whose appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for a neutral venue was rejected.

Wydad and neighbours Raja Casablanca, Ahly and fellow Cairo club Zamalek and Esperance from Tunisia will be among the favourites to pocket the $2.5 million (2.45 mn euros) first prize next June.

According to a CAF statement, Wydad, Raja, Ahly and Esperance will receive byes into the round of 32, along with TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South African club Mamelodi Sundowns.

Zamalek, however, must play in the preliminary round having performed surprisingly poorly in the last two editions after finishing runners-up to Ahly in 2020.

The preliminary round is scheduled for September and the round of 32 for October -- both over two legs -- and the 16 survivors advance to the group stage, which begins next February.

Title-holders Renaissance Berkane from Morocco are among 50 entrants for the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup, which has an additional qualifying round, pitting round of 32 winners against Champions League round of 32 losers in November.

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