CAF Club Competitions: North African ties for Rangers, Ifeanyi Ubah

Rangers FC Enugu
Rangers FC Enugu

Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, champions Rangers International Football Club of Enugu will begin their 2017 CAF Champions League campaign by visiting Algerian side JS Saoura.

The other Nigerian representative in the CAF Champions League, Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, will also be guests of AS Real Bamako of Mali in the competition’s preliminary round.

This is according to the 2017 CAF inter-club competitions’ draws for the preliminary and first rounds, which were conducted on Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Flying Antelopes will however face Egyptian giants Zamalek in the first round, if they qualify from the preliminary round.

Zamalek were runners-up in the 2016 competition and are veteran of many battles on the continent.

Either Sony Nguema of Equatorial Guinea or Sudan’s Al-Merrikh awaits Rivers United if they see off the threats of the Malians.

Rivers United are making their debut in Africa’s premier club competition after finishing as runners-up in last season’s NPFL.

Title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa are among eight previous winners who will participate in the competition which will be in its 21st edition.

Only Al-Ahly (Egypt), TP Mazembe (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Enyimba (Nigeria) have staged successful defence since the 1964 launch of the competition as Africa Champion Clubs Cup.

Al Ahly (2005, 2006 and 2012, 2013) and Mazembe (1967, 1968 and 2009, 2010) have twice won back-to-back titles.

Enyimba, the only Nigerian club to conquer the continent in the premier club competition, triumphed in 2003 and 2004.

In the CAF Confederation Cup, Wikki Tourists of Bauchi are away to RSLAF of Sierra Leone, while Federation Cup champions FC IfeanyiUbah host Al-Masry of Egypt in the first leg.

The first leg matches of the fixtures will be played between February 10 and February 12, while the second leg will be played one week later.

Following the review of the CAF Champions League’s prize money, the champions will get a whooping sum of $2.5 million (about N1 billion).

They will then get to play in the FIFA World Club Cup, where the prize money is also mouth-watering for a club from Africa.

The runners-up will receive 1.25 million (about N500 million), while the semi-finalists will get 875,000 (about N350 million).

The quarter-finalists will pocket $650,000 (about N205 million), while the eight group stage qualifiers who fail to make the knockout stage will get $550,000 (about N173 million) each.



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