The Caf Confederation Cup draw is out and Kenya’s Gor Mahia who are in the group stage for the first time in their history will be making trips to East Africa’s capitals Kigali and Dar es salaam to honour their group fixtures.
The Kenyan champions who eliminated South Africa’s Supersport United on the away goals rule are in Group D together with Rayons Sports of Rwanda, Young African of Tanzania and USM Algiers from Algeria.
All the 16 clubs, ahead of the draw were ranked by their performances in the last five editions of Caf’s inter-club competitions, precisely between 2013 and 2017.
The top four – USM Alger, Al Hilal, AS Vita and Enyimba – made Pot 1 as the top seeds.
The draw which was conducted in Cairo on Saturday saw Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca being drawn in Group A and they will face off with Asec Mimosas of Ivory Coast, Aduana Stars of Nigeria and As Vita Club from Burundi.
In Group B, Nigeria’s Enyimba will be battling it out against Al Masry, UD Songo, RS Berkane and Al Hilal Omdurman.
Gor Mahia will be avoiding, at least for now, African giants like ASEC Mimoas from Cote d’ Ivorie, Ghana’s Aduana Stars, Enyimba (Nigeria), Al Hilal (Sudan) Djoliba AC (Mali), Al Masry (Egypt) and Raja Casablanca (Morocco).
Ahead of Gor Mahia’s game against Supersport United, the Kenyan team almost failed to honour the return leg of the game in South Africa after the country’s Sports Ministry failed to release the ticket in advance. They managed to get help from the governor of the country’s capital who paid for their air tickets that enabled them to represent their country.
The team is now assured of KSh27.5 million ($275,000) in prize money for making it to this stage of the competition – and are in line to earn another KSh8 million ($80,000) should they qualify for the quarters.
Teams that make it to the semi-finals get $450,000 or $1.2 million for going all the way and winning the tournament.
In a change to the format, weekend matches will be played only on Sundays and midweek matches are restricted to Wednesdays. The first fixtures are scheduled for May 6.
TP Mazembe of the DR Congo, the 2016 and 2017 Confederation Cup winners, are not defending the title as they have qualified for the Champions League group stage.
Other first timers in the group stages include Ghana’s Aduana Stars, Congolese side CARA Brazzaville, Williamsville of Cote d’Ivoire, UD Songo of Mozambique, El Masry of Egypt, Moroccan outfit RS Berkane, Kenya’s Gor Mahia and Rayon Sports of Rwanda.
Tunisian clubs have won the competition five times — the best record of any nation — but no teem from the north African state qualified for the group stage.
Group A: Raja Casablanca ASEC Mimosas Aduana Stars AS Vita Club Group B: Al Masry UD Songo RS Berkane Al Hilal Omdurman. Group C: Djoliba Williamsville AC CARA Brazzaville Enyimba FC. Group D: Rayon Sport Gor Mahia Young Africans USM Algiers.