Sundowns to face Young Africans in CAF Champions League

football12 March 2024 17:07| © AFP
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Mamelodi Sundowns team photo © BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa were paired with Young Africans of Tanzania when the CAF Champions League quarterfinals draw was made in Cairo on Tuesday.

Title-holders Al Ahly of Egypt drew Simba of Tanzania, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo face Petro Luanda of Angola and Esperance of Tunisia meet ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast in other ties.

Group runners-up Mazembe, Simba, Esperance and Young Africans will have home advantage in the first legs on March 29-30, with the return matches the following weekend.

Ahly have won the competition a record 11 times and Mazembe (five titles), Esperance (four), ASEC and Sundowns (one each) have also been African champions.

Petro were semifinalists two seasons ago, Simba quarterfinalists three times, and Young Africans are last-eight debutants.

Pretoria outfit Sundowns won the inaugural eight-club African Football League last year and are desperate to add the Champions League to the trophy cabinet.

They are banking on South African and South American talent to conquer Africa a second time having beaten Zamalek of Egypt 3-1 on aggregate in the 2016 title decider.

Brazilian forward Luis Ribeiro has proved a particular good acquisition with three goals in Africa and a chart-topping 10 in the South African Premiership.

Coach Rulani Mokwena also has Argentinians Matias Esquivel and Junior Mendieta, Chilean Marcelo Allende and Uruguayan Gaston Sirino in a squad packed with South African internationals.

Young Africans also have a South American influence with Argentine Miguel Gamondi, who coached Sundowns 18 years ago, in charge of the Dar es Salaam club.

Simba, whose starting line-up can include up to eight non-Tanzanians, were surprise qualifiers at the expense of three-time champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Opponents Ahly, who boast the leading Champions League scorer in five-goal Hussein el Shahat, and Petro are the two clubs who reached the quarterfinals without losing.

Petro were unexpected winners of a group, finishing above Esperance, while rivals Mazembe are back in the knockout stage after early exits in the previous two seasons.



Simba (TAN) v Al Ahly (EGY, holders)

TP Mazembe (COD) v Petro Luanda (ANG)

Esperance (TUN) v ASEC Mimosas (CIV)

Young Africans (TAN) v Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)

First legs: March 29-30, second legs: April 5-6


Esperance or ASEC v Young Africans or Sundowns

Mazembe or Petro v Simba or Ahly

First legs: April 19-20, second legs: April 26-27