After the African Champions League last 16 draw held in Cairo late on Wednesday, October 9th paired topflight teams in the same group, coaches of the African teams reacted after the draw as most of them showed their satisfaction with the event.
The CAF Champions League last 16 draw paired title holders Esperance of Tunisia in a tough Group D alongside Raja Casablanca of Morocco, JS Kabylie of Algeria, and Vita Club of Congo.
Esperance coach Moine Chaabani has expressed his gratification with draw, confirming that he and his team’s players will do their best to save their third successive title.
“The team who wants to be crowned with CAF Champions League title should agree to face any opponents; our target is win the third successive title,” Chaabani told the post-draw press conference.
“We well recognise that the mission is not easy,” he added.
The draw also resulted in Egypt’s Al-Ahly in Group B alongside Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, Al Hilal of Sudan, and Platinum of Zimbabwe.
Al-Ahly’s Swiss coach Rene Weiler confirmed that he will concentrate on the coming game in the Egyptian Premier League against rivals Zamalek and has no time to think of the draw as his style of working is to prepare for each game separately.
"We don’t have time to think about our matches in the African Champions League, as we have to concentrate on the league competition and take it step by step," Weiler was quoted as saying on Al-Ahly’s official website after the draw.
The Red Devils are scheduled to play their arch-rivals Zamalek in the Cairo Derby on October 19th in the Egyptian Premier League’s fourth week.
Etoile Sahel coach Rafik Al-Mohammady confirmed his team’s readiness for the coming round, as he believes the teams in the group are equals in their chances to qualify to the coming stage.
“We are in balanced group, as it is difficult to guess the teams that will qualify to the next stage,” Al-Mohammady told reporters after the draw.
“To face Egypt’s Al-Ahly and Sudan’s Al-Hilal is a difficult mission,” he added.
The CAF Champions League last 16 draw also paired DR Congo’s TP Mazembe in Group A alongside Primeiro Agosto of Agola, Zamalek of Egypt, and Zesco Utd of Zambia.
Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca was paired in Group C alongside USM Alger of Algeria, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, and Petro Atletico of Angola.
The games of the CAF Champions League last 16 round kick off are set to be played on November 29th and 30th and will be finished in March 2020 as the group winners and runners-up will qualify to the quarter-finals.
African Champions League last 16 full draw:
Primeiro Agosto (Agola), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Zamalek (Egypt) or Generation Foot (Senegal), Zesco Utd (Zambia)
Etoile Sahel (Tunisia), Al Hilal (Sudan), Platinum (Zimbabwe), Al Ahly (Egypt)
USM Alger (Algeria), Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA), Petro Atletico (Angola), Wydad Casablanca (Morocco)
Raja Casablanca (Morocco), JS Kabylie (Algeria), Vita Club (Congo), Esperance (Tunisia)