CAF announce entry list for club competitions
Holders Wydad Casablanca head a list of 10 former winners in the draw for next year's Champions League race, facing a tough struggle in their bid to buck the trend and retain their title.
Many of the usual suspects return to the fray, including record eight-time winners Al Ahly of Egypt, who were upset in this year's final by the Moroccans.
African Confederation Cup holders TP Mazembe Englebert of the Democratic Republic of Congo will also be highly fancied along with compatriots AS Vita Club, who won their only title in1973 but were runners-up just three years ago.
The north African challenge also includes the Algerian duo of Mouloudia Alger (winners in 1976) and Entente Setif (1988, 2014) and the perennial Tunisian contenders Esperance (1994, 2011).
South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns, who were 2016 winners and knocked out in this year's quarterfinals by Wydad on penalties, are back for a fourth successive year and there is a return for ASEC Abidjan of the Ivory Coast, whose sole victory in the continent's top club competition came in 1998.
In all entries have come in from all but nine of the 56 member, and associate members, countries of the Confederation of African Football. The full list was obtained by KweséESPN from CAF on Thursday.
Missing out are the Cape Verde Islands, Chad, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Eritrea, Namibia, Reunion, Sao Tome e Principe, Sierra Leone and Somalia.
Again, the 12 best ranked countries - in terms of the achievement of their representatives in the two annual African club competitions over the last five years - get to enter two teams.
The rest receive just one in each of the two competitions.
It is the first time Zambia have been allowed two in each competition, knocking Cameroon out of the top 12 and cutting their entries in half.
The Central African Republic, Lesotho, Togo and Uganda are only entering a team in the Champions League while Djibouti are making a rare appearance, but sending police team, Gendarmerie Tnale, to the Confederation Cup.
As is tradition there is no drawing of lots but rather a tennis-style draw created by CAF's secretariat and signed off by the organisation's inter-clubs competition committee that is largely based on geographical considerations in an effort to keep travel costs down for clubs in the early rounds.
The committee meets next week in Cairo and once they have approved the draw, it will be released by CAF. A draw in April for the later stages of both competition is conducted in a more conventional format and in public.
20128 CLUB COMPETITION PARTICIPANTS
CAF Champions League
ALGERIA: Entente Setif, Mouloudia Alger
CONGO: AC Leopards, AS Otoho
DR CONGO: AS Vita Club, TP Mazembe Englebert
EGYPT: Al Ahly, Misr Makkassa
IVORY COAST: ASEC Abidjan, Williamsville AC
MALI: Stade Malien, Real Bamako
MOROCCO: DH El Jadidi, Wydad Casablanca (holders)
NIGERIA: Plateau United, MFM FC
SOUTH AFRICA: Bidvest Wits
SUDAN: Al Hilal, Al Merreikh TUNISIA: Esperance, Etoile Sahel
ZAMBIA: Zesco United, Zanaco
ANGOLA: Primeiro Agosto
BENIN: To be confirmed by the member association
BOTSWANA: Township Rollers
BURKINA FASO: RC Kadiogo
BURUNDI: Lydia Ludic Burundi Academic
CAMEROON: To be confirmed by the member association (Eding Sport)
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Olympic Real Bangui
EQUATORIAL GUINEA: Leones Vegetarianos
ETHIOPIA: St George
GABON: CF Mounana
GAMBIA: Gambia Armed Forces
GHANA: Aduana Stars
GUINEA BISSAU: Benfica
KENYA: Gor Mahia
LESOTHO: Bantu FC
LIBERIA: LISCR FC
LIBYA: Al Tahadi
MALAWI: Be Forward Wanderers
MAURITANIA: ASAC Concorde
MAURITIUS: Pamplemousse SC
MOZAMBIQUE: UD Songo
NIGER: AS Fan
RWANDA: Rayon Sports
SENEGAL: Generation Foot
SEYCHELLES: St Louis
SWAZILAND: Mbabane Swallows
SOUTH SUDAN: Al Salam
TANZANIA: Young Africans
TOGO: AS Port Lome
UGANDA: Kampala Capital City Authority
ZANZIBAR: JKU SC
ZIMBABWE: FC Platinum
African Confederation Cup
ALGERIA: USM Alger, Chabab Belouizdad
CONGO: CS La Mancha, CARA Brazzaville
DR CONGO: DC Motema Pembe, Maniema Union
EGYPT: Al Masry, Zamalek
IVORY COAST: AS Tanda, Africa Sports
MALI: Djoliba, Onze Createurs
MOROCCO: Raja Casablanca, Renaissance Berkane
NIGERIA: Enyimba, Akwa United
SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Town City, SuperSport United
SUDAN: Al Ahly Shandi, Al Hilal El Obeid
TUNISIA: US Ben Guerdane, Club Africain
ZAMBIA: Nkana FC
ANGOLA: Petro Atletico
BENIN: To be confirmed by the member association
BOTSWANA: Jwaneng Galaxy
BURKINA FASO: Etoile Filante
BURUNDI: Olympic Star
CAMEROON: To be confirmed by the member association
DJIBOUTI: Gendarmerie Tnale
EQUATORIAL GUINEA: CD Niefang
ETHIOPIA: Wolaitta Dicha
GHANA: Asante Kotoko
GUINEA BISSAU: FC Canchungo
KENYA: AFC Leopards
LIBERIA: Elwa United
LIBYA: AL Ittihad
MADAGASCAR: Fosa Juniors
MALAWI: Masters Security Services
MAURITANIA: FC Nouadhibou
MAURITIUS: AS Port Louis 2000
MOZAMBIQUE: Costa do Sol
NIGER: Sahel SC
RWANDA: APR FC
SENEGAL: Mbour Petite Cote
SEYCHELLES: Anse Reunion
SOUTH SUDAN: Al Hilal
SWAZILAND: Young Buffaloes
TANZANIA: Simba SC
ZIMBABWE: Harare City