Mamelodi Sundowns had their opponents for the 2021/22 CAF Champions League Group Stage confirmed at the draw which took place on Tuesday, 28 December in Cairo, Egypt.
The Brazilians will be placed in Group A alongside defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt, Al Hilal and Al Merrikh of Sudan. The Brazilians will meet familiar opponents Al Ahly whom they will be playing against for the fourth season in a row in the Champions League.
Downs will face two trips to Omdurman, Sudan to take on the two local giants Al Hilal – who they faced in last season’s group stage – and Al Merrikh SC.
The six-match campaign begins on the weekend of 11-12 February 2021 where Sundowns will welcome Al Hilal to Pretoria. The team will then face back-to-back away trips to Sudan and Egypt to take on Al Merrikh and Al Ahly respectively. The reverse leg of fixtures begins on the weekend of 11-12 on matchday 4 with a home fixture against Al Ahly in a repeat of The Brazilian’s last match in last season’s tournament. Matchdays 5 will see a home game against Al Merrikh before the final round of fixtures sees another trip to North Africa to play Al Hilal in the return leg.
Masandawana will be looking to emulate their dominant form of the last two group stage campaigns. Their 2019/20 campaign saw them top the group going unbeaten whilst last season’s journey saw them only lose one game from the six group matches in which they competed in.
The top two sides in each group will progress to make up the eight sides in the quarter-finals, and Downs will be looking to better their progress in recent years to reach the final of the tournament which they claimed top honours in 2016.
Joining Mamelodi Sundowns in representing the country on the biggest stage are first-time participants AmaZulu FC, who have been placed in Group B alongside Raja Casablanca (MAR), Horoya FC (GUI) and ES Setif (ALG).
Bafana Ba Style will now enjoy their festive break before returning to the training pitch in mid-January to prepare for the second half of the season.