32 Teams, 19 Countries Jostle at CAF Inter-Clubs Draw
And now there are 16! The initial field of 52 clubs from 40 countries and another 16 CAF Champions League drop-outs have been narrowed to a manageable number for a league-styled competition for the 2017 Confederation Cup. The CAF Champions League is similarly narrowed.
According to CAF website, ahead of the draw of the group phase of the CAF Champions League 2017 and CAF Confederation Cup on Wednesday, in Cairo, Egypt, the qualified clubs are drawn from 19 countries.
Tunisia leads the pack with the maximum representation in the two competitions, two each and four in all.
Since 1997, Tunisian clubs have won seven continental club championships (two CAF Champions League and five CAF Confederation Cup), and have been a constant feature at this stage.
Their representatives are Esperance and Etoile du Sahel for the CAF Champions League, and the pair of Club Africain and CS Sfaxien in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Despite security concerns compelling clubs to play behind closed doors since 2011, Egyptian clubs continue to be a force to reckon with.
Egypt has three clubs, after El Masry failed in their bid to become the fourth. Since the launch of the group phase in 1997, Egypt has seven CAF Champions League title, six for Al Ahly and one for rivals, Zamalek.
Ahly also won the CAF Confederation Cup in 2014. Alexandria-based Smouha complete the Egyptian trio.
Also with three clubs each is South Africa, with African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns looking set to defend their title in the CAF Champions League. Platinum Stars and SuperSport United are the others and will play in the second-tier continental club championship.
Sudan equally has three clubs with debutants and rising force Hilal Obeid, the surprise packets in the CAF Confederation Cup. Traditional giants, El Merreikh and El Hilal are in the CAF Champions League.
Algeria, DR Congo, Morocco and Zambia have a club each in the two competitions.
One-club countries include Swaziland, who for the time has representation at the mini-league stage of a major continental championship in Mbabane Swallows in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Other countries represented are Algeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Libya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe.