Quote of the week

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Caf Champions League draw: Pirates handed group of death

Orlando Pirates have been handed the toughest possible Caf Champions League draw.

The Buccaneers have been paired with the dreaded Egyptian duo of defending champions Al Ahly and five-time winners Zamalek. AC Leopards of Congo, winners of last year’s Caf Confederation Cup, round out Group A – surely a group of death.

Pirates, winners of the tournament in 1995, arrived at the group stage following a hard fought 3-2 aggregate win over TP Mazembe. Their road to a possible repeat triumph will only get tougher after yesterday’s draw.

Rooi Mahamutsa has just seen Pirates' Champions
League draw...
Bucs pen their account against AC Leopards on the weekend of July 19-21 before tough matches against tournament favourites Al Ahly away in Egypt, and Zamalek at home.

A silver lining for Pirates – and Leopards – could be the fact Egyptian teams are still forced to play behind closed doors following the Port Said tragedy in 2012.

Still, Ahly remain the bookmakers’ favourites to win a record-extending eighth African crown with Zamalek widely expected to join them in the last four.

In Group B, last year’s losing finalists, Esperance of Tunisia, have been drawn alongside 2008 runners-up Coton Sport of Cameroon. Little known Sewe Sport of Ivory Coast and Recreativo de Libolo of Angola are the other teams in the group.

Each team will play its three opponents at home and away between 19 July and 22 September, with the top two advancing to the semi-finals in October.

The final will be played over two legs in November where a place in the 2013 Fifa World Cup – in Morocco – will be at stake.


Group A:
July 19-21:
Zamalek (Egypt) v Al Ahly (Egypt, holders)
Orlando Pirates (South Africa) v AC Leopards (Congo)

August 2-4:
Al Ahly v Orlando Pirates
AC Leopards v Zamalek

August 16-18:
AC Leopards v Al Ahly
Orlando Pirates v Zamalek

August 30-31, September 1:
Al Ahly v AC Leopards
Zamalek v Orlando Pirates

September 13-15:
Al Ahly v Zamalek 
AC Leopards v Orlando Pirates

September 20-22:
Zamalek v AC Leopards
Orlando Pirates v Al Ahly

Group B
July 19-21:
Coton Sport (Cameroon) v Sewe Sport (Ivory Coast)
Recreativo Libolo (Angola) v Esperance (Tunisia)

August 2-4:
Sewe Sport v Recreativo Libolo
Esperance v Coton Sport

August 16-18:
Coton Sport v Recreativo Libolo
Sewe Sport v Esperance

August 30-31, September 1:
Recreativo Libolo v Coton Sport
Esperance v Sewe Sport

September 13-15:
Sewe Sport v Coton Sport
Esperance v Recreativo Libolo

September 20-22:
Recreativo Libolo v Sewe Sport
Coton Sport v Esperance