AmaZulu drawn against Big Bullets of Malawi in CAFThomas Kwenaite
The draw of this year’s Pan-African club competitions released by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Friday afternoon is best described as a total shoot-out between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Debutants AmaZulu will take a short trip to Blantyre to face Nyasa Big Bullets in the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League where the KZN is likely to find their feathers ruffled by the Malawians but should be strong enough to progress to the next round.
Coach Benni McCarthy, who brilliantly guided AmaZulu to a runners-up spot in the DStv, confessed to know nothing about the Malawians who are serial champions in their native country and are known to have been supported by most in the ruling party.
“We are going to try and gather as much information as we can get about them,” revealed McCarthy who was voted the SA Premier League ‘Coach of the Year,’ even though one detected a hint of mind games and a clear attempt to plead ignorance whilst throwing them off their stride.
However, it does not get any better in the next round where they will find five times CAF Champions League winners – TP Mazembe – lying in wait and still smarting from the wounds inflicted by fellow South Africans Mamelodi Sundowns who eliminated them in the group stages.
Fellow Champions League contenders Sundowns received a bye into the first round and would await the winner between Bouenguidi Sports (Gabon) against AS Maniema Union (DR Congo) who clash in the preliminary round.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, another SA debutant in Pan-African club competition Marumo Gallant find themselves pitted against Futuro Kings from Equatorial Guinea in the preliminary round.
However, should they successfully negotiate their way past the team from the city of Magamo, they will find their hands full against DR Congo giants AS Vita in the next round of the competition.
Orlando Pirates received a bye into the first round where they await the winner between Bumamuru (Burundi) who clash against Diables Noir (Congo Brazzavile) but their experience at this level should see them through.
The first leg preliminary round matches are scheduled for the weekend of 10-12 September and the second leg matches the following week during 17-19 September.
The first round first leg matches will be staged during the weekend of 15-17 October and the second leg matches will be played the following weekend during 22-24 October.