African Champions League draw completed

A member of the Confederation of African Football shows the name of South Africa's Orlando Pirates football team during the Champions League draw in Cairo on May 14, 2013. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Wydad Casablanca of Morocco will begin the defence of their African Champions League title against either Mali's Stade Malien or newcomers Williamsville AC of Cote d'Ivoire.

As the reigning champions, Wydad are one of five teams to be given a bye into the second round of the tournament, which begins in March.

Beaten finalists in 2017 Al Ahly of Egypt and DR Congo's Confederation Cup winners TP Mazembe are also straight into the second round.

The other teams to skip the first round are the 2016 African champions Mamelodi Sundowns from South Africa and Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel, who lifted the trophy in 2007.

The 16 winners of the second round ties will advance to the group stage of the tournament.

The weekend

For the first time ever Zambia had two teams in the draw with Zanaco, who reached the group stage in 2017 drawn to play Gambia Armed Forces, while Zesco United will play Zanzibar's JKU SC.

The 2018 Champions League will begin on the weekend of February 9-11 with the two-leg final set for November.

A change in the calendar for the Confederation of African Football means that the next Champions Leagues will begin in December 2018 and run through to May 2019.

After the 2019 final the competition will be held from August or September through to May of the next year.

2018 African Champions League draw

First Round:

  • St George (Ethiopia) v Al Salam (South Sudan)
  • CNaPS (Madagascar) v Kampala Capital City Authority (Uganda)
  • Zanaco (Zambia) v Gambia Armed Forces (Gambia)
  • Bantu FC (Lesotho) v Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland)
  • Stade Malien (Mali) v Williamsville AC (Ivory Coast)
  • Al Tahadi (Libya) v Aduana Stars (Ghana)
  • Entente Setif (Algeria) v Olympic Real Bangui (Central African Republic)
  • Real Bamako (Mali) v MFM FC (Nigeria)
  • AS Otoho (Congo) v Mouloudia Alger (Algeria)
  • AS Fan (Niger) v Horoya (Guinea)
  • Generation Foot (Senegal) v Misr Makassa (Egypt)
  • Young Africans (Tanzania) v St Louis (Seychelles)
  • Township Rollers (Botswana) v Al Merreikh (Sudan)
  • Gor Mahia (Kenya) v Leones Vegetarianos (Equatorial Guinea)
  • ASAC Concorde (Mauritania) v Esperance (Tunisia)
  • Plateau United (Nigeria) v Eding Sport (Cameroon)
  • AC Leopards (Congo) v AS Port Lome (Togo)
  • LISCR FC (Liberia) v Al Hilal (Sudan)
  • JKU SC (Zanzibar) v Zesco United (Zambia)
  • Benin representative v Asec Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire)
  • Ngaya Club (Comoros Islands) v UD Songo (Mozambique)
  • DH El Jadidi (Morocco) v Benfica (Guinea Bissau)
  • AS Vita Club (DR Congo) v Be Forward Wanderers (Malawi)
  • Primeiro Agosto (Angola) v FC Platinum (Zimbabwe)
  • Bidvest Wits (South Africa) v Pamplemousse SC (Mauritius)
  • Rayon Sports (Rwanda) v Lydia Ludic Burundi Academic (Burundi)

Second round:

  • St George or Al Salam v CNaPS or Kampala Capital City Authority
  • Zanaco or Gambia Armed Forces v Bantu FC or Mbabane Swallows
  • Wydad Casablanca (Morocco, holders)v Stade Malien or Williamsville AC
  • Al Tahadi or Aduana Stars v Entente Setif or Olympic Real Bangui
  • Al Ahly (Egypt)v CF Mounana or RC Kadiogo
  • Real Bamako or MFM FC v AS Otoho or Mouloudia Alger
  • AS Fan or Horoya v Generation Foot or Misr Makassa
  • Young Africans or St Louis v Township Rollers or Al Merreikh
  • Gor Mahia or Leones Vegetarianos v ASAC Concorde or Esperance
  • Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) v Plateau United or Eding Sport
  • AC Leopards or AS Port Lome v LISCR FC or Al Hilal
  • JKU SC or Zesco United v Benin representative or Asec Abidjan
  • TP Mazembe (DR Congo)v Ngaya Club or UD Songo
  • DH El Jadidi or Benfica v AS Vita Club or Be Forward Wanderers
  • Primeiro Agosto or FC Platinum v Bidvest Wits or Pamplemousse SC
  • Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)v Rayon Sports or Lydia Ludic Burundi Academic

Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?

Read Story:Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?