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CAF Champions League

Caf Champions League: Far-too-early predictions for all eight quarter-finalists

13:00 SAST 2022/02/17
Siyethembe Sithebe & Benni McCarthy, AmaZulu FC, November 2021
Ed Dove predicts which five teams will escape from the CafCL group stage

  • Pitso Mosimane, Al Ahly, February 2022

    Al Ahly

    Yet to begin their group stage campaign after missing the first round of fixtures due to Club World Cup duties, Ahly will finally get their campaign underway away at Al Hilal on Friday.

    Pitso Mosimane’s failure to bring home the Egyptian title last year was a black mark, but Ahly can still bounce back as they look to go in search of an unprecedented third consecutive African title.

    On three previous occasions, the Red Devils have won back-to-back Champions League titles without being able to make it three in a row; can they complete the hat-trick this time around?

  • Lyle Lakay Mamelodi Sundowns

    Mamelodi Sundowns

    A dominant force domestically, where they hold a sizeable lead at the top of the PSL, but it’s worth noting that Sundowns are still to add to the 2016 Champions League and the 2017 Super Cup they won under Mosimane.

    Their qualifying campaign was less than convincing, as they were held 2-2 at Congolese side AS Maniema Union, but Friday’s 1-0 victory over Al Hilal should give them hope of escaping a tricky group.

  • Zakaria El Wardi & Kadima Kabangu of Raja Casablanca, Thembela Sikhakhane of AmaZulu, February 2022

    Raja Casablanca

    Raja have won two Confederation Cups since 2018, but their wait for a Champions League title stretches all the way back to 1999 when their golden side defeated Esperance in the final.

    This current squad still has some experience of going in the competition, which should serve them well, although the exit of Mahmoud Benhalib denies them a key attacking threat.

  • Benni McCarthy AmaZulu

    AmaZulu

    Group B looks pretty open behind Raja, with debutants AmaZulu giving a good account of themselves in their opening group-stage game away at Raja.

    A 1-0 defeat can give Benni McCarthy’s side confidence of going the distance, although the double-header against ES Setif will really test their experience at this level, and will surely be make or break for Usuthu.

  • Esperance

    Esperance de Tunis

    Outstanding in their opening group game, as they thumped Jwaneng Galaxy 4-0 at home, but Esperance have often started campaigns strongly in the past before falling short in the latter stages.

    They don’t quite have the quality of the side that won back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019, but in Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane, they have a genuine difference-maker.

  • Etoile du Sahel fans

    Etoile du Sahel

    It’s a tough call between Etoile du Sahel and CR Belouizdad for the second qualifying spot from Group C, but I’m plumping for the Tunisians.

    They were pipped to the Tunisian title by Esperance last season, but flexed their muscles with a 4-0 Yassine Chikhaoui-inspired rout of Rwanda’s APR FC during the Second Round.

  • Wydad Casablanca v Mamelodi Sundowns, March 2019

    Wydad Casablanca

    Qualifying as Moroccan champions, Wydad are looking to return to the pinnacle of the continent for the first time since 2017, when they were last African champions.

    Defeated finalists in 2019, they crushed Hearts of Oak in the Second Round, and began their group stage campaign with a 3-0 second-half rout of Angola’s Sagrada Esperanca.

  • Mahmoud Hamdi El Wensh, Zamalek, April 2021

    SC Zamalek

    Defeated finalists in 2020, Zamalek are the reigning Caf Super Cup winners, and will be confident of going the distance after pipping Ahly to the 2020-21 Egyptian Premier League.

    They struggled in their group opener—requiring a 95th-minute equaliser from El-Wensh to rescue a point at home against Angola’s Petro de Luanda.