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2023/24 Caf CL: Medeama face baptism of fire against Ahly, Belouizdad and Yanga in group stage

Medeama SC, the debutants in the Caf Champions League group stage, faced a daunting draw as they found themselves pitted against the formidable Al Ahly SC of Egypt in the 2023/24 edition of the continent’s premier club football competition.

The live draw, conducted here in Johannesburg on Friday, placed the 2022/23 Ghana Premier League (GPL) champions in Group D, where they are the lowest-ranked side among the competing teams.

Sharing Group D with Medeama are Algeria’s CR Belouizdad and Young Africans (Yanga SC) of Tanzania, setting the stage for intense continental clashes.

Medeama’s historic journey to this mini-league stage marks a significant milestone for the club. They are the first Ghanaian qualifiers to reach the last 16 since Berekum Chelsea accomplished the feat in 2012.

Their path to this stage was marked by impressive victories over fellow West African sides, Remo Stars FC of Nigeria and Guinea’s Horoya AC. In a thrilling battle, the Yellow and Mauves edged Remo Stars of Nigeria on penalties and secured their place in the group stage by defeating Horoya of Guinea with an aggregate score of 4-3, with Jonathan Sowah’s second-leg penalty proving decisive.

Next month, Medeama face their ultimate challenge as they square off against Al Ahly, an 11-time champions and footballing powerhouse, in their very first group stage match, slated to be an away fixture.

Medeama’s journey also sees them cross paths with CR Belouizdad, the Algerian giants with a staggering 10 league titles to their name. The first round of the group stage will conclude with a familiar opponent in Yanga SC, who were runners-up in the Caf Confederation Cup last season. Medeama’s history with Yanga dates back to the 2016 Confederation Cup, where they played to a 1-1 draw away and secured a 3-1 victory in the home leg.

The stakes are high, as the top two teams in the group will earn a coveted spot in the quarterfinals after six matchdays scheduled between November 24, 2023, and March 2, 2024.

Despite navigating the preliminary rounds at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, Medeama are eagerly anticipating the completion of their newly constructed TNA Stadium in Tarkwa, in hopes of hosting their group stage matches on home turf.

The stage is set for Medeama SC as they embark on this historic journey, facing off against the continent’s footballing giants and aiming to leave their mark on the Caf Champions League.

Here’s the full draw for the Caf Champions League groups:

GROUP A – Mamelodi Sundowns, Pyramids FC, TP Mazembe, FC Nouadhibou

GROUP B – Wydad AC, Simba SC, ASEC Mimosas, Jwaneng Galaxy

GROUP C – Espérance Tunis, Petro Atletico, Al Hilal SC, Etoile du Sahel

GROUP D – Al Ahly SC, CR Belouizdad, Young Africans SC, Medeama SC

 

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