|Lioli's reward for winning the Vodacom Premier League is CAPS United|
and possibly TP Mazembe...
Lesotho champions Lioli have been drawn against Zimbabwe’s CAPS United in the preliminary round of the 2017 CAF Champions League. The draw was conducted on Wednesday.
Lioli will host the first leg on the weekend of February 10/11/12 and the return game will be played the following weekend.
CAPS United have faced Lesotho opposition before. In 2005, they beat LDF 8-4 on aggregate at the same stage. CAPS won the first leg 4-1 in Zimbabwe before winning the return at Setsoto Stadium 4-3.
If Lioli manage to navigate their way past the Zimbabwe champions they will face African giants TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the first round. The five-time champions most recently won the competition in 2015 and are the current holders of the CAF Confederation Cup which they won in November.
The potential mouth-watering tie against TP Mazembe would be Lioli’s final hurdle to the lucrative group stage because from 2017 the round robin phase will feature 16 teams instead of eight as was the case in previous years.
There is a huge incentive for Lioli and the rest of the clubs that will take part in the 2017 CAF Champions League.
The first prize has been increased by 66.6 percent to US$2.5 million.
The runners-up will receive $1.25 million, the semi-finalists $875,000 and the quarter-finalists $650,000.
Meanwhile, just reaching the group stage will guarantee clubs $550,000, which would roughly be M7.6 million for Lioli. Tse Nala will be looking to be the first Lesotho club to progress past the preliminary stage of the CAF Champions League since 2001 when LDF beat Botswana’s Mogoditshane Fighters 1-0 on aggregate.