Champions Ahly get bye for 2014 CAF Champions League

AFP| Last Updated: Dec 17, 2013, 00:36 AM IST

Abuja: Champions Al Ahly and Tunisia`s Esperance are two of six clubs who have been given byes in the preliminary round of the 2014 CAF Champions League.

The other clubs are CAF Confederation Cup winners CS Sfaxien, TP Mazembe of DR Congo, Al Hilal of Sudan and Cameroon`s Coton Sport.

A total of 52 clubs have entered for next year`s competition.

The draw for the club competition staged on Monday in Marrekech, Morocco, sees several past winners of Africa`s foremost clubs competition including Zamalek, Enyimba and Raja Casablanca will be involved in the preliminary rounds.

Two-time winners Enyimba will first host Ange de Notse of Togo, while Zamalek face AS Douanes of Niger and Raja are up against Diamond Stars of Sierra Leone.

Atlabar will become the first club from South Sudan to feature in this competition and they are drawn against Ghana`s Berekum Chelsea.

The preliminary rounds will kick off on the weekend of February 7-9, while the return leg matches will be played a week later.

The Round of 16 matches will be played between February 28 to March 9, while the final qualifying round are slated for between March 21 and 30.

In the CAF Confederation Cup, 42 clubs will compete for the top prize.

This year`s winners CS Sfaxien as well as runners-up TP Mazembe have opted for the more prestigious Champions League.

Nigerians pair Bayelsa United and Warri Wolves have been given byes so also Asec Mimosas (Ivory Coast), MAS (Morocco), Djoliba (Mali), Ismaily, Wadi Degla (Egypt), Zesco United (Zambia), Al Ahly Shandy (Sudan) and Etoile du Sahel, CA Bizerte (Tunisia).

Malakia will be the first club from South Sudan to feature in this competition and they are pitted against Cara of Congo in the preliminary round.

The first leg preliminary round matches will begin on February 7.