The top seeded teams will join in the new season of the 2022-23 TotalEnergies CAF Champions League which gets to the second preliminary round this weekend, as the first step towards the group stages of the competition.
There will be several matches to watch out for, but here are the top five highlights expected from the second round.
Wydad Athletic Club vs Rivers United
The defending champions will start the road towards retaining their title, with a tie against Nigeria’s Rivers United in Casablanca. Wydad clinched the title last season after victory over holders Al Ahly and with a new coach, they will be keen to make it back-to-back titles.
Walid Regragui, the man who led them to the crown last term, has been replaced by Houcine Ammouta. They have had a good start in the Botola Pro and are currently top of the standings after four matches with three wins and a draw.
Nigeria’s Rivers progressed to the second round after edging out Liberia’s Watanga FC 3-1 and they will be tasked with a mammoth task, taking out the defending champions.
Us Monastir vs Al Ahly
Record champions Ahly will come up against Tunisia’s Monastir in a North African derby. Ahly were exempted from the first preliminary round and they will start the journey to battle for the title back in Tunisia.
New coach Marcel Koller, who is just a month into his tenure will be under pressure to ensure Ahly return to continental success.
Monastir who finished second in the Tunisian league last season will be keen to ensure they also put up a performance to remember, and winning at home will be key in their targets.
They progressed to the second round after edging out Rwanda’s APR 3-1 on aggregate.
Yanga vs Al Hilal
This will be one of the battles to watch out for, with the two CECAFA region sides battling for a single slot into the group stages of the competition.
Tanzania’s Yanga were imperious in their first round tie when they walloped Zalan Rumbek of South Sudan 9-0, where their star player Fiston Mayele scored back to back hat-tricks.
They come up against Hilal, coached by revered Congolese tactician Florent Ibenge, who led Morocco’s RS Berkane to the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup title last season.
Hilal earned a slot in the second round after edging out Ethiopia’s St. George on the away goal rule after a 2-2 aggregate draw.
Cape Town City vs Petro de Luanda
The 16-time Angolan Girabola champions will be looking to replicate their splendid performance, having reached the semis last season.
Comprehensive back-to-back wins in their first two games of their Angolan league title defense have boosted their confidence and they will be out to ensure a ticket to the group phase.
They progressed to this round after edging out Mozambican champions Black Bulls 5-1.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Cape Town are looking to punch a ticket to the group stages and putting up a shocker against Petro will be a huge statement. It will be yet another South Africa-Angola rivalry, coming just a few weeks after the Angolan national team beat Bafana Bafana in the final qualification round of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship.
Cape Town earned a ticket to this round after beating Congo’s AS Otoho d’Oyo 2-0 on aggregate.
Primero de Agosto vs Simba SC
Angola’s Primero de Agosto, semi-finalists in 2018, will be up against Tanzanian giants Simba, hosting the first leg match in Luanda.
Primero return to the Champions League for the first time since 2019 and are keen to make an impact. They progressed to this round after edging out Zambia’s Red Arrows 2-1 on aggregate.
Having missed out on the group stages last season after a shocking loss to Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy, Wekundu Wa Msimbazi will not be risking any mistakes this time round. Domestically they have been in good firm, winning four of their first five games of the season in the Tanzanian Premier League.
They progressed to this round after beating Malawi’s Nyasa Big Bullets 4-0 on aggregate.
Fixtures – 2nd Preliminary Round – TotalEnergies CAF CL 2022-23 [PDF]