African Champions League: Group stage shaped by Covid and a shock

The African Champions League trophy

Egyptian duo Al Ahly and Zamalek, DR Congo’s TP Mazembe as well as Tunisia’s Esperance, the four most successful clubs in African Champions League history, are all through to this year’s group stages.

Another four former winners are also into a last 16 that was also shaped by Covid-19 and a huge shock.

Defending champions Al Ahly will continue their quest for a record-extending 10th title this year while Zamalek and TP Mazembe are in search of a sixth trophy and Esperance a fifth.

Mouloudia Alger, Mamelodi Sundowns, Wydad Casablanca and AS Vita Club are the other former winners going into Friday’s draw for the group phase.

The biggest shock of the last 32 saw three-time winners Raja Casablanca of Morocco beaten by Senegalese newcomers Teungueth.


Both legs of that tie finished goalless with Teungueth winning 3-1 on penalties in Casablanca to become the first qualifiers for the group phase from Senegal in 17 years.

The second leg in Morocco was played in atrocious conditions that saw the ball being held up and barely bouncing on a waterlogged surface.

The global Covid-19 pandemic also made an impact as Ghana’s Asante Kotoko were unable to field the required 15-man squad for their second leg in Sudan against Al Hilal, who held a 1-0 lead from the first leg.

Kotoko had arrived in Sudan with enough players for the game to go ahead but then seven players returned positive Covid-19 tests leaving them without enough players.

The Ghanaian club has disputed those results and pointed out one test was also missing but the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) match commissioner Amir Hassan ruled that the game could not go ahead.

Two-time winners Kotoko said in a statement that it “will use all legitimate measures to ensure the right thing is done.”

In the previous round Kotoko’s second leg game was called off when Mauritania’s Nouadhibou had two of their 16-man squad return positive Covid tests on arrival in Ghana.

Nouadhibou had also disputed the results of the tests carried out in Ghana. The first leg in Nouakchott had ended in a 1-1 draw.

Zamalek had been given a bye into the group stage as their Chadian opponents Gazelle were disqualified from the tournament after failing to arrive in Egypt for the first leg 23 December.

The losers of these ties will drop into the Confederation Cup where they face a play-off to reach the group stage of that event.


Qualifiers: Al Ahly (Egpyt), Al Hilal (TBC), Al Merrikh (both Sudan), AS Vita Club (DR Congo), CR Belouizdad (Algeria), Esperance (Tunisia), Horoya (Guinea), Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns (both South Africa), Mouloudia Alger (Algeria), Petro Atletico (Angola), Simba SC (Tanzania), Teungueth (Senegal), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Wydad Casablanca (Morocco), Zamalek (Egypt)

Champions League last-32 results:

  • Stade Malien (Mali) 1-0 Wydad Casablanca (Morocco)
  • Wydad Casablanca 3-0 Stade Malien
  • Wydad progress 3-1 on aggregate
  • RC Abidjan (Ivory Coast) 1-1 Horoya AC (Guinea)
  • Horoya 1-0 RC Abidjan
  • Horoya progress 2-1 on aggregate
  • AS Sonidep (Niger) 0-1 Al Ahly (Egypt, holders)
  • Al Ahly 4-0 AS Sonidep
  • Al Ahly progress 5-0 on aggregate
  • Al Ahly Benghazi (Libya) 0-0 Esperance (Tunisia)
  • Esperance 3-2 Al Ahly Benghazi
  • Esperance progress 3-2 on aggregate
  • Gazelle (Chad) c-c Zamalek (Egypt)
  • Gazelle disqualified Zamalek progress
  • AS Bouenguidi (Gabon) 1-2 TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
  • TP Mazembe 2-1 AS Bouenguidi
  • TP Mazembe progress 4-2 on aggregate
  • Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa) 0-0 Primeiro Agosto (Angola)
  • Primerio Agosto 0-1 Kaizer Chiefs
  • Kaizer Chiefs progress 1-0 on aggregate
  • Al Merrikh (Sudan) 3-0 Enyimba (Nigeria)
  • Enyimba 2-1 Al Merrikh
  • Al Merrikh progress 4-2 on aggregate
  • Asante Kotoko (Ghana) 0-1 Al Hilal (Sudan)
  • Al Hilal c-c Asante Kotoko
  • Al Hilal progress subject to Caf approval
  • Mouloudia Alger (Algeria) 2-0 CS Sfaxien (Tunisia)
  • CS Sfaxien 1-0 Mouloudia Alger
  • Mouloudia Alger progress 2-1 on aggregate
  • Nkana (Zambia) 1-1 Petro Atletico (Angola)
  • Petro Atletico 1-0 Nkana
  • Petro Atletico progress 2-1 on aggregate
  • FC Platinum (Zimbabwe) 1-0 Simba SC (Tanzania)
  • Simba SC 4-0 FC Platinum
  • Simba SC progress 4-1 on aggregate
  • CR Belouizdad (Algeria) 6-0 Gor Mahia (Kenya)
  • Gor Mahia 1-2 CR Belouizdad
  • CR Belouizdad progress 8-1 on aggregate
  • Teungueth (Senegal) 0-0 Raja Casablanca (Morocco)
  • Raja Casablanca 0-0 Teungueth
  • 0-0 on aggregate Teungueth progress 3-1 on penalties
  • Jwaneng Galaxy (Botswana) 0-2 Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
  • Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 Jwaneng Galaxy
  • Mamelodi Sundowns progress 5-1 on aggregate
  • Young Buffaloes (Eswatini) 2-2 AS Vita Club (DR Congo)
  • AS Vita Club 4-1 Young Buffaloes
  • AS Vita Club progress 6-3 on aggregate – BBC